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VOIP Meets Cell Phones 190

pnutjam writes "This looks really interesting. It looks like this company, Xcelis, has a bunch of cellphones hooked to VOIP equipment. Basically you pay them and if you have free in-network calling on your phone you call their phone and then dial out to whomever you want. Voila, unlimited calling to anyone."
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VOIP Meets Cell Phones

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  • by sonofagunn ( 659927 ) on Friday December 03, 2004 @04:53PM (#10991085)
    I hope this doesn't become too popular! Companies will have to raise prices elsewhere.
    • Yeah - this business model has the probable lifespan of a mayfly.
    • Aren't most "unlimited" plans actually "high limit" plans? In other words, they're not truly unlimited, they just have very high thresholds and the phone companies count on the fact that most people never reach those thresholds. Check the fine print on your plan... even if there's no expicit threshold, the phone company may still be able to charge you for "unusually high" usage.

      My cellphone customer disservice story []

      • by CyberDave ( 79582 ) <davecorder&yahoo,com> on Friday December 03, 2004 @05:49PM (#10991745)
        I have "unlimited" night and weekend minutes and "unlimited" mobile to mobile minutes on my Cingular plan. When I looked at my usage online a few months ago, it turns out that I indeed did not have truly unlimited airtime: I had 99999 N/W and 99999 M2M minutes each month. Of course, this is more than twice the number of actual minutes in any given month, so there was no way I would ever exceed those minutes, so they were in fact unlimited to me. Now that I've added my brother and sister as additional lines on my plan and we draw from the same minute pool, it would be possible for us to exhaust all those minutes, but we would each have to spend 16 hours a day on the phone. Not gonna happen. That, and it was probably easier to program the billing system with a very high threshold for "unlimited" plans and not worry about it rather than programming truly unlimited minutes.

        • This reminds me of "unlimited" long distance for landlines. Here in Canada, some phone companies offered unlimited long distance (evening, nights and weekends) for $20/month. Apparently, though, enough people were using this that some of them had to slap on limits of like 800 hours or so per month. I think this was due to excessive long-distance calls for dial-up Internet connections.

          Anyhow, the point I'm making is that whether or not a plan is truly "unlimited" or merely "high threshold", I bet the phone

          • Kind of the same way that planes will overbook flights on the assumption that not everyone will actually show up for the flight.

            Back in the 1980s the airline that my mother worked for had a standing policy to overbook by 15.

            It was cheaper do that than to schedule extra flights. For example if everyone showed up and you had 15 extra people, you could purchase tickets for all of them on a competing airline, refund their ticket prices and give them a free night in a hotel all for less than the cost of a sec
        • I have "unlimited" night and weekend minutes and "unlimited" mobile to mobile minutes on my Cingular plan. When I looked at my usage online a few months ago, it turns out that I indeed did not have truly unlimited airtime: I had 99999 N/W and 99999 M2M minutes each month.

          Are you sure the 99999 isn't just a 'special number' used in the billing system database to designate unlimited. Most likely those fields in the database are numeric versus text so 99999 probably denotes unlimited. The software could jus
    • I think you should rephrase. Companies will raise prices elsewhere. They already charge more than they have to for the disservice. However, if they feel they can milk a little more out of you, you know they will.
    • Companies will have to raise prices elsewhere.

      I hate this corporate spin bullshit.

      They will only have to raise prices if:

      A) They make no profit as-is.
      B) There is no place else they can cut to make-up the money.
      C) Basic cellphone coverage costs them more than they charge you already.
      D) They have a higher profit margin on the extras this is eliminating.

      etc, etc.

      Frankly, this is just normal competition. You might as well say that cheap long-distance plans will force local phone companies to raise the

  • Unlimited (Score:2, Interesting)

    by SilkBD ( 533537 )
    When will the wireless networks give us unlimited plans as an option... that's what I want to know. VoIP is too buggy... there are numbers that you can't call and faxes don't like it.
    • Re:Unlimited (Score:4, Interesting)

      by epod ( 726223 ) on Friday December 03, 2004 @05:06PM (#10991265)
      Actually, in Canada, Telus already had an unlimited calling plan in the city of Winnipeg. It was $30 CDN a month, unlimited local calling all the time. It was their marketing gimmick to get into a new market. The only problem is, due to their contact the user is entitled to renew their contract when it expires for the same plan ad infinitum. This has led to those cell phone plans being bought and sold for as much as $3000, since as long as you renew it, you've got an unlimited cellphone for life for $30.
    • Fido in Canada does that now.

      Here in Vancouver, for Cdn $45 you get a larger unlimited calling area than you do with a landline. it y=vancouver
    • Re:Unlimited (Score:3, Informative)

      by Precion ( 260985 )
      The success with a VOIP depends on many factors. There are many companies who provide VOIP service who meet the QOS rule of five nines (99.999% uptime). It depends on the type of service you sign-up for with the VOIP provider. What may be suprising to find out is that many cellular providers are already using VOIP on the backend to process calls, but it is transparent to the user.

      Less overhead (bandwidth) is needed to handle voice calls than data/fax calls. There are plenty of companies who provide VOIP Fa
    • ONe of the GSM plans was a $99/mo, unlimited airtime plan.

      I don't think that it exists anymore.. it was a promo plan.
      • one of my friends has it, 2 years ago when he moved to L.A. ATT was offering it, so he signed up, october came around and he was looking to change because $99 was alot to spend on a phone each month, so he started looking around, and checking his history for his bill...

        NO ONE could touch the deal he has, he on average uses 5000 minutes a month, I never thought anyone would talk so much on the phone, but he's a cinematographer and is ALWAYS talking to someone coordinating something. plus living in L.A. he
    • When will the wireless networks give us unlimited plans as an option... that's what I want to know.

      Cricket Communications []currently does offer unlimited local and incoming calls for under $40 per month.

      Too bad their coverage areas are so sparse.

  • Nice idea but... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DarkHelmet ( 120004 ) * <mark.seventhcycle@net> on Friday December 03, 2004 @04:53PM (#10991094) Homepage
    I really like the idea but...

    This is very inconvenient, because it essentially makes the addressbook on my cell phone useless. I'd love to have something that just automatically routes calls through them. That would definately add to the value of their service.

    This, and what about incoming calls? I believe most cell phone companies still count your # of minutes based on people calling you, as well as your outbound calls.

    • Re:Nice idea but... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by stecoop ( 759508 )
      what about incoming calls

      How about removing the phone companies from the picture and just have basically Route your call like DNS does or like DHCP giving you an IP address. Instead of dialing a phone number you would dial something like voip://
    • Pause Feature (Score:5, Informative)

      by Myriad ( 89793 ) <> on Friday December 03, 2004 @05:05PM (#10991252) Homepage
      This is very inconvenient, because it essentially makes the addressbook on my cell phone useless. I'd love to have something that just automatically routes calls through them. That would definately add to the value of their service.

      Not necessarily... while it would no longer be as simple as entering the number of the person you want to call, many phones will let you daisy chain them with a Pause feature. This feature tells the autodialer to wait n number of seconds (or half seconds or what have you for the particular phone) before dialing more numbers.

      So you set it up to dial your access number, say 702-555-1212. You want it to then call your destination number, say 613-555-1234. You would then program the phone to dial:
      (the comma representing whatever character your phone uses to indicate a pause).

      This way the phone dials the access number, waits a few seconds to let that call process and the service connect, then dials your destination number.

      You could even insert access codes if necessary with additional pauses if need be (ie code 1234):

      It is more work to setup, and you'd need to figure out what sort of delay you needed, but otherwise it should work. The ability to pause and enter more digits has been built into many phones for years...

      Blockwars []: Free, multiplayer, head to head game.

      • by DarkHelmet ( 120004 ) * <mark.seventhcycle@net> on Friday December 03, 2004 @05:09PM (#10991293) Homepage
        Let me try and adapt the form to the phone companies. It's a joke... laugh...
        Your post advocates a

        (x) technical ( ) legislative ( ) market-based ( ) vigilante

        approach to changing the phone system. Your idea will not work. Here is why it won't work.
        (One or more of the following may apply to your particular idea, and it may have other
        flaws which used to vary from state to state before a bad federal law was passed.)

        (X) Most phone users will not put up with punching letters on a keypad (SMS anyone)
        (X) Phone companies will not put up with it
        ( ) The police will not put up with it
        (X) Requires too much cooperation from phone companies
        (X) Requires immediate total cooperation from everybody at once
        (X) Many users cannot afford to lose business or alienate potential employers

        Specifically, your plan fails to account for

        (X) Foreign countries
        ( ) Ease of searching tiny alphanumeric address space of all email addresses
        (X) Asshats
        (X) Jurisdictional problems
        (X) Public reluctance
        ( ) Huge existing software investment in SMTP
        (X) Susceptibility of protocols to attack
        ( ) Willingness of users to install OS patches received by email
        (X) Technically illiterate politicians

        and the following philosophical objections may also apply:

        (X) Ideas similar to yours are easy to come up with, yet none have ever
        been shown practical
        (X) Why should we have to trust you and your servers?
        ( ) Incompatiblity with open source or open source licenses
        ( ) Killing phone companies is not slow and painful enough

        Furthermore, this is what I think about you:

        (X) Sorry dude, but I don't think it would work.
        ( ) This is a stupid idea, and you're a stupid person for suggesting it.
        ( ) Nice try, assh0le! I'm going to find out where you live and burn your
        house down!
        • (X) Most phone users will not put up with punching letters on a keypad (SMS anyone)

          Apart from those users who contributed to the 500 billion sms messages sent in 2004 you mean?
          • Yeah, and everyone is going to do that each time they try to dial a number?

            On a telephone, what's easier, 661-277-8293, or punching in

            On a computer, it's easier to remember. On a phone, it'd be a bitch to dial in.

      • VerizonWireless will purchase a law in PA making this illegal, so it wouldn't help me any.

    • I use a pretty ancient CDMA cellphone, the Motorola Startac ST7868W. It has the ability to place calling-card and PBX extension calls from the phone book. After sending a number, it can send digits as DTMF, complete with the necessary timed delays and pauses. You can use this feature to call a calling card access number and then automatically dial access code and real destination number, or to call your main office number and then enter digits to ring a certain extension. I also use it to enter the access
    • Not useless. All of the cell phones that I have used have mechanisms to automate touch-tone voice menus. So you could for could easily prefix the (out of network) numbers on your cell phone with this number. You'd have to do it for each one, but in most cases I'd expect you would really only want to do it for a few expensive (out of country) or frequently called (girlfriend out of network) numbers, and let the rest of the calls count against your normal minutes.

      If you were concerned about incomming calls I
  • by lottameez ( 816335 ) on Friday December 03, 2004 @04:54PM (#10991115)
    I suspect the cell phone companies user contract will contain a provision prohibiting you from dialing a service such as this.
    • no, they will just prohibit you from running a service like this. Voila, all the phones the company has for accepting incoming calls go bye-bye.
      • Bingo. No in-network phone = no service.
      • > no, they will just prohibit you from running a service like this

        I agree. It probably falls under the heading of "reselling minutes" which is effectively what these guys are doing.

        To me, this is simply exploitation of the unlimited calling plans.

        The idea is that if the cellular service provider can get you to convince friends/family to sign up for the same service by giving you free minutes for intra-carrier calling, they will gain additional revenue. So the companies are using the free minutes to re
    • Or the contract will just contain a provision prohibiting you from offering a service such as this.
    • I have no real knowledge to back this up, but I'd be willing to bet that cell providers can't legally disallow you from calling a given phone number.
    • I wouldn't put it past the cell phone companies to try this, but on what basis? I mean, if it's a local call for the cell phone, then in terms of the usage of the cell phone network, it's a local call, right? So what's the basis for prohibiting it (or putting a surcharge on it, which IMHO would make more sense for the cell companies to try)?
      • Under certain conditions, there may be no way to detect this without voilating the wiretap laws.

        The companies that offer and allow the better and greater service will make more money that those who attempt to corner the market. Especially in this market.

    • I suspect the cell phone companies user contract will contain a provision prohibiting you from dialing a service such as this.

      That sounds unlikely. Either they'd have to be the ones blocking it or they wouldn't have much to say.

      Really ... if they had a policy that said "you may not call our competitors to compare rates using our phone" it would be just as meaningless.

      You'll still be paying the cell-company for the air-time you use with them, it's not like you'd not be using their network.


  • by YrWrstNtmr ( 564987 ) on Friday December 03, 2004 @04:56PM (#10991129)

    So you can have the underwater sound of a regular cellphone, combined with the intermittent stuttering of VoIP.

    • by biz0r ( 656300 )
      I was just thinking about this myself. Layering abstract technologies like this can only lead to combination of 'bugs' and 'issues' leading towards an overall lower quality service. Now whether or not people will accept this is another issue to discuss...
    • The intermittent stuttering of Voip would end if they would
      stop using using ATM ( Asynchronous Transfer Mode )

      Asynchronous Transfer means packets arrive out of order .

      SONET on the other hand is a Synchronous Optical Network .

      Use SONET, QoS and IPv6 and this is the foundation of
      making it work right .

      SONET is what the majority of the voice trunks ride on now anyways .

      But what alot of ppl do not know is that it also carries alot
      of the DATA out there instead of ATM .

      Sprint has provided ATM data services a
    • If the VOIP network is designed right, you won't get jitter and lost frames.

      One thing you shouldn't do - layer your voip network ontop of an existing data network - or worse yet use the internet as your transport medium - this will lead to the problems you describe.

      To guarantee the QOS needed for voice grade traffic you must have a dedicated H.323 (or whatever the next better emerging protocol is - I can't recall its name atm) from end to end.
  • Generally any kind of free call comes with associated restrictions. It can be as vague as 'reasonable use', but it's almost always there. So, unless they've agreed this specifically with the cell phone providers... aren't they breaking their TOS?

  • by PCM2 ( 4486 ) on Friday December 03, 2004 @04:59PM (#10991160) Homepage
    At first I thought this sounded interesting for international calls, but now I see that international calls are not permitted, at least during the trial period. Am I the only one who can't figure out what this is for? I have free long distance on all my mobile phone minutes. I have unlimited calling on off-peak hours and more anytime minutes than I would possibly want to spend on my phone in a given month. Looking at the other plans my provider offers, I'd bet you couldn't even take advantage of some of them unless you had an extra battery for your phone. Who is the target market for this?
    • by BridgeBum ( 11413 ) on Friday December 03, 2004 @05:06PM (#10991272)
      The target market is people who have unlimited mobile-to-mobile calls, but would have to pay for calls to land lines during business hours. The call you make is to a mobile number, allowing you to effective have unlimited minutes to any number.
    • The big benefit of this is that you can reduce the plan that you're on. Why get the 1000 minute plan when you can get the 300 minute plan? Off peak might be free, but if you need to make lots of calls on peak, it would be quite useful.

      Frankly though I can't imagine that this operation will be around for long. Phone companies are not going to tolerate somebody manipulating their market like this to make some money at their expense.
    • it's about loopholing the flaws in some carriers plans that allow unlimited to another cellphone in the same carriers network - bridging these phones so to speak.

      expect it to not last too long.

  • a beowulf clust of cell phon.....crap!
  • Cellular? Bah! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by chainsaw1 ( 89967 ) on Friday December 03, 2004 @05:01PM (#10991201)
    Just take the cellphone out of the picture entirely []
    • So... you want to rely on 100' radius networks instead of miles-wide networks? Doesn't sound good.

      Oh yeah, what about WiMAX, right? Sorry, that isn't slated to be available in a truly mobile form until 2006/2007 [] (search for "Third-generation CPEs").

    • You mean so I can spend $240 on the phone, and then another $30 to $50 for a VoIP subscription that's about as restrictive as most landline phones?

      At least it's mobile. But I think it's not worth the early investement.
      Pantheon's idea shows promise. But Sprint, Verizon, etc. won't let this last. It's going to hurt their bottom line, and they'll put the kibosh on free in-network calling quick.

    • So you mean, that I can buy WiFi phone for $240 (and another $50 for AP?) where I could buy analog-to-sip adapter for $80 without strings attached and cordless DECT []/GAP [] phone with base station for $40 (and additional handsets for $20 each)?

      I know, WiFi sounds so sexy...

  • You could do this for yourself or for a small company which is a great idea!
  • by lkcl ( 517947 ) <> on Friday December 03, 2004 @05:03PM (#10991229) Homepage
    when skype release their linux version with a d-bus API it will be possible to do this yourself.
  • Don't do it. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Verizon can and is terminating accounts of people using this service. Others will follow suit...

    The providers know about this service and hate it, and also have enough money to crush it. So don't plan on umlimited minute plans for the time being.
  • nothing new (Score:5, Informative)

    by JDizzy ( 85499 ) on Friday December 03, 2004 @05:05PM (#10991259) Homepage Journal
    This is nothing new, Verizon already uses Voip on the back-end of their cellphone network, although most people don't know that. VZ is converting their entire telephony network to a managed IP network and all call legs are slowly being converted to Voip/Sip. So that means for cell phones, the switch at the tower does the conversion of voice to IP, and the end-user is never the wiser. Now a cell phone that has a sip stack is an entire different thing, and that is being worked on. In other words there are two Voip implementations: one, where you have Voip from the phone you use (has an Ip address, etc), and two the transitional where you get a typical phone and that is converted to IP down-stream. So cell phones these days can connect to an IP network, browse online, etc. once that is more standard you will start to see cell phones that have optional soft-phones built-in aka SIP plus RTP stacks.
    • Actually, this IS something new.

      You join their service, and call their phone number, which is in-network for your phone. They use voip to route it to whatever phone network they need and make an outgoing in-network phone call on that network.

      The twist is not that this is VOIP.

      Essentially, the "twist" is that you are "in-network" on 2 networks, through them. Kind of abusing the whole "in-network" model, though my understanding is that some land-carriers have done similar things before.
  • (Score:3, Informative)

    by Mantorp ( 142371 ) <mantorp 'funny A'> on Friday December 03, 2004 @05:06PM (#10991268) Homepage Journal
    is similar to this. You prepay for minutes then you call a local or tollfree number and they route your calls over the internet. Kick ass international rates too. Highly recommended.

    They use caller id to identify you so no need for pin codes, and they have an online phone book with speed dial. I'm using skypeout to call from home and bigzoo from my cell and pay on average

    • oops damn touchpad

      I was going to say that I pay on average 2-3 cents per minute for international calls

    • I've been using them for a couple of years as my primary LD service.

      Now I have to search for a replacement. Any suggestions for a landline 'virtual calling card' service at ~2 cents a min?

      • Now I have to search for a replacement. Any suggestions for a landline 'virtual calling card' service at ~2 cents a min?

        I've been using Onesuite [] for a couple years now. I've not paid much attention to their International rates, but domestic US is 2.9 cents/min. if you access them toll free, and 2.5 cents if you use a local access number. No monthly fees, connection charges, etc. Just straight up per minute charge.

        They're not perfect; I sometimes have a problem getting connected on their toll free numbe
      • Actually, you can just use this link [] to sign up and get the same referral deal.

        I just discovered they offered the referral service that way.
  • Privacy? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Wow, 45 comments and not a single one bemoaning the privacy issues? What has become of Slashdot?

    If you sign up for this service, Xcelis will be in a fantastic position of keeping track of ALL the calls you make through your cellphone. Who you called, how long you talked to them, perhaps even what you talked about. Hmmm, Xcelis might just be a front for the American Spy Agency^W^W^W Dept of Homeland Security.
    • If you sign up for this service, Xcelis will be in a fantastic position of keeping track of ALL the calls you make through your cellphone.
      Hey, you're right - JUST LIKE THE PHONE COMPANY!
  • Bad lag! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by entrager ( 567758 ) on Friday December 03, 2004 @05:12PM (#10991335)
    I have Vonage VoIP service at home on a cable modem connection. When I talk to a cell phone user over my VoIP phone, there is a noticable lag that occurs. I've gotten used to it, but initially my wife and I found ourselves talking over each other all the time because of the 1-2 second delay. It sounds to me like this service will only compound that problem.
    • Why you have lag issues ....

      If your a windows user download NeoTrace or an equivalent tool
      and watch your "latency" to other nodes and ip addresses of ppl on different or even the same network your on .

      The cable modem folks and some DSL providers are notorious for
      routing all their traffic in a region through one location and that
      location having routing issues because they are technically running
      it at capacity or ocassionally beyond capactiy .

      Where I am at everyone for hundreds of miles goes thru Kansas Ci
  • Do mobile plans in the States really have mobile-to-mobile options that don't use up your minutes? That's cool. I don't think any of the providers in Canada have that, but getting unlimited local calling is pretty easy.

    I've got my cell on a plan with unlimited local evenings & weekends, and then use one of those ubiquitous call #X, enter account, password and destination # type plans. Similar to calling cards, but it's 500 minutes/month for CAD10. It's pretty easy to enter the e
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Check THIS out: []

  • by Anonymous Coward
    All they'll accomplish is eliminating unlimited mobile to mobile minutes for everyone. The cell company isn't going to take a loss or provide service for free. Currently, the mobile to mobile minutes are more of a gimmick to get the friends/family of their customers to switch than anything. If this ceases to be an incentive because services like this make it irrelevant then they'll stop offering them.


  • This is an interesting concept but what is really needed is a device that provides cellular service but is a black box that allows interfacing to a phone system. Every company of any size with a standard cell carrier would have a bank of phones attached to their PBX to cut cellular costs.

    Cell companies should jump on this by offering DS1 service for calls onto their network ...

    • > This is an interesting concept but what is really needed is a device
      > that provides cellular service but is a black box that allows interfacing to a phone system.

      A Wavecom WMO2 could be made to do this without a lot of heartache. Long story short, it's a GSM cell phone.. except instead of a keypad and a screen, it has a serial port. And instead of a speaker and a microphone, it has a modular male end, like you plug into a standard telephone handset.

      • Looks like WMO2 only does messaging. I want something in the same form factor as a Cisco VIC-2FXO that lets me connect to the cellular network the same fashion that this card lets me talk to land lines.

        I suppose an external device that was cellular on one side and FXS on the other would do the trick ... haven't seen such a beast offered anywhere yet.

  • Legislation (Score:3, Insightful)

    by killmenow ( 184444 ) on Friday December 03, 2004 @05:35PM (#10991580)
    A bill to outlaw this type of service will be written by one or many cellular providers and presented to one or many congresstools in 3...2...1...
  • You still have to have cell coverage by your provider right?

    I already have unlimited long distance on my cell phone.

    What am I missing? I read the page and it's probably obvious but it's just not clicking.
  • by MDMurphy ( 208495 ) on Friday December 03, 2004 @05:56PM (#10991833)
    I agree that this will likely have a short shelf life. The extreme # of minutes on their cell phones will stand out like a flashing beacon to the cell carriers.

    But, a "home version" would be interesting. Two phones with the minimal accounts for unlimited mobile to mobile would still be cheaper than one of the mega minute plans. A kit to connect your "home" cell phone to your Vonage box would do the trick. The cell carriers wouldn't see the insane #'s of minutes on a service providers accounts but just you calling your other phone often. A slick trick would be to allow bi-directional calling with this kit.

    In early days of PacBell GSM here in CA they had 1st incoming minute free. I had my SIM in a box with a GPS receiver attached. I could call from a land line every minute, poll for position, hang up under a minute. One month I made 1800 sub-minute calls to my mobile to track my cars location.

    They later ammended the plan to not include data calls and then scrapped the 1st minute plan all together, but I got a lot of testing in before they did.
    • But, a "home version" would be interesting.

      Years ago I had a coworker who, along with her local ham radio club, rigged a ham radio up to land line. She swore it was better than a cell phone, although she did find it annoying when someone else was using the line.
  • Haha (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Jesus IS the Devil ( 317662 ) on Friday December 03, 2004 @06:07PM (#10991957)
    It's pretty obvious this is a really dumb idea. Most of the previous responses have detailed the reasons why.

    What I really see is PDA phones having WIFI or better yet, WIMAX, connecting to a network and doing VOIP that way, thereby completely bypassing the cell phone company.

    That way, when you have WIFI, you call for free (or very low cost). When you don't have WIFI coverage, you dial out using the cell phone network.

    Now THAT'S cell phone VOIP! Not this load of crap lol.
  • Check out this Usenet post for an idea of what we're in store for about 6 months from now: 1 &selm=e1jEPHU2EHA.1524%40TK2MSFTNGP09.phx.gbl []

    In case that link doesn't work, with the recent Google Groups changes and all, search for "Which version of Windows CE and Shell should be used" instead.

  • by krray ( 605395 ) on Friday December 03, 2004 @06:34PM (#10992231)
    On a back end web server listening on a re-directed port along with a password and you're prompted with:
    ENTER CURRENT #: (let's enter 19998887777)
    TRANSFER TO #: (let's enter 15554443333) ...and then the "old" modem in that computer taps C-Kermit and dials specifically:
    atdt ,19998887777,,,,5,!,*97,15554443333,,;

    So, it calls me (pauses due to finding the cell phone I may be holding), dials "5" for the heck of it (lets me know it is working :), flashes the line, dials my transfer code (*97) and dumps me to the phone number I entered.

    Free unlimited calls anywhere I go already ... as long as I can tap a web browser somehow. :)
  • With the new flexible pricing plan from Sprint PCS, additional blockes of 100 anytime minutes are just 5 cents a minute. At $9.95 per month, that's 200 extra minutes from Sprint. How many people really need more than 200 additional peak minutes on their plans? And as others have mentioned, the call quality of these "free" minutes is gonna suck.
  • by bs_02_06_02 ( 670476 ) on Friday December 03, 2004 @07:21PM (#10992687)
    Everyone has seen the advertising. Plans are sold with free unlimited in-network calling. If you read the boilerplate in your service agreement, you'll see something that reads (paraphrased) abuse of the network (re:unlimited free calling) is subject to termination.

    Unlimited free in-network calling doesn't mean UNLIMITED. It means unlimited until they choose to see otherwise, labelling it as "abuse" of their network. They have the right to terminate you for such abuse.
    What kind of abuse? It is up to your provider. Don't like it? Walk away. Or live with it. Most people don't abuse it. But there are plenty that try.
  • by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Friday December 03, 2004 @08:20PM (#10993211) Homepage Journal
    Why don't they just do this with 2 different mobile networks: two sets of phones (1 set from each network with free in-network calls), connected in pairs through their gateway? Then they can market free calls to each network's subscribers, without relying on iffy VoIP, with its lower quality and smaller market of tightwadder customers? I smell a pure, unscalable gimmick.
  • Take a look at this phone:

    It's a VOIP phone from SOYO [] that allows free direct calls between same model phones. They also provide an international calling plan but I don't think I will be interested in that.

    I bought two G668 [] models and I intend to place one in my parent's place (they live abroad) and one besides my regular telephone. That way it will work as a family "bat-phone" and reduce our long distance charges to zero.

    Two great advantages are that they don't need to get connected to a computer and th
  • I feel the VOIP explosion is upon us...

    Check this article from the Economist []
  • Sounds like's access numbers [] except you get to call anyone in the PSTN. For those of you not familiar with SIPphone's access numbers, it's one of the greatest services I've known that is free (like Netzero was free back in the day). Say you have a bunch of friends all over the country, each with broadband access. They all purchase analog telephone adapters for their phones from and sign up for SIPphone's service (free service, hardware is not free) and plug into the broadband. S

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