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Communications

Cringely Shows How to Get Free Cell Calls 222

SafariShane writes "In this week's pulpit, Bob describes how to properly use new software from a company called IPDrum. Basically, you use the free mobile-to-mobile feature of any major carrier to call a dedicated cell phone attached to your computer. That call is then connected to Skype, allowing you to make free cell calls just about anywhere. Just how long till someone does this on a large scale, by overselling the dedicated lines, and starts selling true unlimited cell plans?"
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Cringely Shows How to Get Free Cell Calls

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  • Hmm (Score:4, Funny)

    by pHatidic ( 163975 ) on Monday June 27, 2005 @05:44PM (#12926225)
    Just how long till someone does this on a large scale, by overselling the dedicated lines, and starts selling true unlimited cell plans?"

    I'm guessing Cringely has made a prediction

    • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ndansmith ( 582590 ) on Monday June 27, 2005 @05:47PM (#12926261)
      I'm guessing Cringely has made a predictio

      I'm guessing he has made an investment, too.

    • He's quite a bit too late. Companies already offer truely unlimited (local calls) cell phone plans. Fido does this in Canada for $40/mth canadian ($30 or $35 US per month). Plus the usual hidden fees.

      Of course, it's not free long distance, but neither is skype; skypeout might be cheap, but it isn't free.
      • Re:Hmm (Score:4, Informative)

        by Guspaz ( 556486 ) on Monday June 27, 2005 @06:33PM (#12926664)
        Before anybody complains that skype-to-skype calls are free, keep in mind that that isn't truely unlimited; that's the exact same restriction that the mobile phone companies put on their same-network unlimited plans, in that the person you are calling must be on skype as well.

        There are two types of unlimited. Unlimited minutes to any local number, and unlimited minutes to ANY long distance or international number. Skype-to-skype isn't to anybody, only people with skype.

        Don't get me wrong, this whole plan is genious, and it allows people to get skype's SkypeOut rates for their cellphones, and if the computer is hooked up to the POTS itself then free local.
        • Or, you can avoid SkypeOut's piss-poor quality and use Asterisk and a termination provider (and pay a lot less). 2 cents a minute in or out is a lot cheaper than landline. Of course, 2 cell phones with free mobile-to-mobile will be at least $50 a month, and the carrier will probably catch on and disconnect you.
          • I admit SkypeOut's quality isn't great, but the cost pretty nice. Still more expensive than local calls, but really cheap for long distance.

            Can you provide more information about these termination providers?
            • But the cost and quality both suck in comparison to alienw's suggestion. You can spend a lot less rolling your own with Asterisk. Of course it takes a lot more time to get it going. But between the price, geek factor and the customizability, it's a sure win for any Slashdotter worth his/her salt.
              • The trick is still the connection between the phone and the PC. My cell phone has a data cable, but it's limited to treating the phone as a modem, or transfering files to/from. I don't know how one would make a voice connection over the low-speed cellphone USB cable that comes with the phones.

                Perhaps one could take this skype cable this company makes and roll one's own software.
      • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Interesting)

        by NoMoreNicksLeft ( 516230 ) <john@oyler.comcast@net> on Monday June 27, 2005 @08:27PM (#12927431) Journal
        I'll do you one better. I have a $12 asterisk card. I have a landline that allows me to make unlimited calls in the Richmond, VA area. I have broadband.

        I don't care if my landline is tied up most of the time, I have a cellphone finally (just got my first a few months back). Maybe you're in a similar situation. Maybe you'd buy a $12 asterisk card too.

        If we set up the hardware correctly, well then, I can make long distance calls to your area, and you to mine, and it won't cost us anything. Better yet, technically, your grandma down the road, who doesn't even have a computer, could make a LD call to Richmond VA, without it showing up on her bill. She dials into your asterisk machine, it puts it through over broadband to mine. My grandma could do the same thing... or for that matter, anyone in Richmond could do the same thing.

        Why would I do this, you ask? Because even if I only cheat the bastard phone companies out of a nickel of long distance revenue, I consider it a victory.

        Anyone feel like helping?
        • Re:Hmm (Score:3, Informative)

          by Guspaz ( 556486 )
          You just described a VOIP provider ;)

          I'm not sure what they call the ones that work they way you describe, but the idea is you call a local number, get another dial tone, then call a long distance number.

          On the other hand, imagine a free (opensource?) service that tracked all such numbers in all locations, and also when they were in use (Each "node" could report to the master server when it was in use). The only trick about this is getting the numbers to the people. As in, person A wants to make a call, a
          • You miss the point. Sure, my broadband can provide more than 1 voip link, but I've only got one landline that I can donate to this cause. Figures. Still not sure if its just that my ideas are dumb, or if I do a shitty job explaining them...
            • Get a block of business lines, have them seek, multiple out, multiple in
            • That's the thing though, you get donations to pay for a business line and you can make more than one connection to the POTS (Plain Old Telephone System). You only need one such node per city.
  • by moz25 ( 262020 ) on Monday June 27, 2005 @05:44PM (#12926226) Homepage
    With a free mobile-to-mobile feature, you don't have to be able to make free calls, but cheap calls would be cool too. You could interface directly to your computer for a whole range of other things too. My take is that the cool part is in the interface to the computer, with free calls being one of the multiple possibilities. Once this gets popular, there may be some limitations though.

    I wonder if this method is patented... ?
    • One thing I've always wanted to do was have internet access on the-the-road and on-the-cheap. This seems like a possible way to do it.

      WiFi doesn't have the range, and dedicated systems are expensive. With this I could get a cell phone (which I would use to some degree anyway) and possibly use it as a cell modem to connect to my computer at home, and route through that to access my broadband internet from there. If nothing else I'd be able to retreive documents and send home pictures and stuff while out on
      • I was doing this with Sprint for a while. I hooked my N400 cell phone to my laptop with a cord I got on Ebay and some downloaded software. it made a dialup speed connection that worked anywhere Sprint has service. At the time I worked for a City that didn't allow desktop internet access... so my laptop/cell phone combo was my only link to /. and Dilbert.....
    • With a free mobile-to-mobile feature, you don't have to be able to make free calls, but cheap calls would be cool too. You could interface directly to your computer for a whole range of other things too. My take is that the cool part is in the interface to the computer, with free calls being one of the multiple possibilities.

      IPOfC (IP over free-cellular)

      The telecom's worst nightmare. Being your own forwarder into the net from free wireless from anyplace? (Not to mention security concerns)

      But, they wo

  • by nxtw ( 866177 )
    Some company did this before. They had a bunch of cell phones connected to VoIP service, and offered unlimited calls for $10-20/mo. (The phone companies weren't too happy about it.)

    I think it was on Slashdot, but I can't find the link.

  • by bfizzle ( 836992 ) on Monday June 27, 2005 @05:45PM (#12926244)
    Talk about a hack...

    Makes me wonder how much delay there is between talking and the other party listening with the cell to cell to skype to skype to cell to cell.

    We have a new acronym c2c2p2p2c2c
    • Re:A new acronym? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ndansmith ( 582590 )
      Good point. On my Verizon service there is a noticable lag of almost one second (at times) within their network. So multiply that by send and recieve and add to that any delay in Skype, and you might have some bizarre conversations.
      • Good point. On my Verizon service there is a noticable lag of almost one second (at times) within their network. So multiply that by send and recieve and add to that any delay in Skype, and you might have some bizarre conversations.

        I tried to make a tech support call to SBC internet services over Skype once. Take the Skype delay, and add the .75 second delay for the signal to go to the call center in India, throw in the inevitable "clipping" effect, plus the irregular language and hint of an accent of an

    • ... I think that is the formula for crack, which Cringely must be smoking if he thinks this will be useful...

      I could be wrong about that formula.

  • And then? (Score:5, Informative)

    by daVinci1980 ( 73174 ) on Monday June 27, 2005 @05:46PM (#12926253) Homepage
    There are already companies that offer this. For example, metroPCS [metropcs.com] which offers unlimited calls. No minute counting.
    For $40 a month [metropcs.com], you get unlimited local and long distance calls.
  • by winkydink ( 650484 ) * <sv.dude@gmail.com> on Monday June 27, 2005 @05:47PM (#12926263) Homepage Journal
    While it's a step in the right direction, if you want to call somebody on a landline, you still have to pay for the SkypeOut, yes?

    It seems like a lot of trouble for little savings. I guess my perspective would be different if I was a very mobile person who needed to make frequent out-of-country calls (more common in Europe, yes, I know).
    • Even though it isn't the core of the article, the Cell+Cell+IPDrum+Skype idea is more about circumvention than savings. Dividing it up: (1) Adobe is powerful. (2) The way phone companies work not only is changing but must change. Now, I thought both of those things were obvious.
    • yep, thats way too much trouble to make free phone calls! Only advantage this gives you is that you can be mobile, which is the main reason I've been avoiding Skype. This will give you mobility, but then again, how good of a quality will you get out of VOIP over a cell phone? Cell phones are always cracking up and Skype is only marginally good. Add these together and I'm not sure how good it will sound.

      I've been using Packet8 for $20 a month for unlimited US and Canda for more than a year now. The ser
  • Interesting (Score:2, Interesting)

    by gazuga ( 128955 )
    But not very cost-effective if you're the only one using it.

    2x cheapest cell plan is still about $60-70. For that much money, you can almost buy unlimited minutes (or at least practically unless you talk non-stop) from the cell provider.

    For a family or group of friends, however, this sounds like a great deal.
    • 1. I use around 1600 of my 2000 minutes a month on my phone. And that's with careful use of the free calls within network and after 9pm. I'm paying a lot more than that to get those minutes, too.

      2. For a family or group of friends, there are far better deals out there. You can buy a big plan and share minutes. You can get Verizon or Sprint (or many others) and have free calling between the phones (IN Network, PCS-to-PCS).

      3. Overage fees can cost you hundreds each month if you're not careful. A solution li
    • 2x cheapest cell plan is still about $60-70.

      T-Mobile's Family Time plan is $49.99, and includes 2 lines and unlimited mobile-to-mobile.

      Bing, $50 unlimited cell usage.

  • by creimer ( 824291 ) on Monday June 27, 2005 @05:47PM (#12926273) Homepage
    I didn't know that Captain Crunch [wikipedia.org] whistles work on cell phones.
  • by Strom Carlson ( 809024 ) on Monday June 27, 2005 @05:49PM (#12926291)
    By running from Skype to a mobile phone, you use two fairly crappy codecs: iLBC at 13 kilobits per second on top of GSM at 12 kilobits per second. On their own, each one is marginally tolerable, but I would rather gouge my eardrums out with a dagger than listen to the two codecs combined.
    • In the US, you'd more likely be using one of the CDMA voice codecs instead of GSM, which are usually higher bitrate as well as higher quality.
    • How is iLBC crappy?

      From my experience with it, it only sounds crapy when it's being transcoded from a bad source. iLBC => iLBC sounds great.

      On that same note you could say that g729 or ulaw is crappy, but it's all depending on how your creating the stream.

      iLBC is a GREAT protocol, as can be heard on a skype->skype call (which uses iLBC).

      • I haven't been impressed. I don't know if it's the codec, or something else about Skype, but the quality is underwhelming.

        I live in Asia, and have non-mind-blowing DSL (1024/384, with 300ms ping to the USA). I use VoIP providers via Asterisk on a colo box in the USA to place and receive calls via a Sipura SPA-1001. Most people I talk with in Europe or the USA can't tell that I'm using VoIP or on the other side of the planet.

        However, whenever I use Skype (from here or elsewhere) there's this sort of cycl

  • by podperson ( 592944 ) on Monday June 27, 2005 @05:50PM (#12926307) Homepage
    He goes on to suggest that investors should move their money away from phone companies to NeuStar -- a company that vends telephone numbers.

    Cough.

    It seems to me that the obvious place to converge points of content would be email addresses -- which will make phone numbers obsolete as well.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 27, 2005 @05:51PM (#12926314)
    ... have to pay $60/month minimum [verizonwireless.com] for two-phone wireless service and 2c a minute [skype.com] to termine the call at a real phone.

    You've met "free-as-in-speech" and "free-as-in-beer" -- now meet "free-as-in-really-expensive"! Yayyyy capitalism!!
    • It's the same free-as-in-"I built this server for free, and I'll show you how you can too... err well you already need to have the server and the time to set it up" that is showing up more often here on Slashdot.
    • Nah, you can get a 2-phone plan for 49.99 and unlimited VOIP for 19.99 (not from skype). At least you could when I came up with this idea six months before Cringley (actually inspired by one of his articles though [slashdot.org]. Also, turns out other people [xcelis.com] had the idea too). Truly unlimited domestic minutes along with super-low VOIP rates on international cell-phone calls could actually be worth $70 for really heavy users (big plans can get up in the $100s, plus international charges on top). Also, you might be able
  • I'll pass.. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Geekenstein ( 199041 ) on Monday June 27, 2005 @05:53PM (#12926336)
    Well, it sounds good on the surface, but starts getting a little muddier when you get into it.

    How much does your average cell phone provider charge for a month of service? Let's be generous and say $30, plus $10 for the "in network" plan. So, $40 right there.

    Next, you add the regularly poor quality of a cell phone call, with its drop outs in sound, etc. to the equally (if not moreso) poor quality of a VoIP call, and you end up with a lot of "huh? what? can you hear me now?" in your conversations.

    People who tend to spend so much time on their cell phone that they go over the costs associated with having the second phone line value value their ability to communicate and won't tolerate the kind of frustrations with this "cheap" solution.

    • Next, you add the regularly poor quality of a cell phone call, with its drop outs in sound, etc. to the equally (if not moreso) poor quality of a VoIP call, and you end up with a lot of "huh? what? can you hear me now?" in your conversations.

      Out in Asia, this becomes less of a problem with newer wireless technologies, such as 3G which provides much greater bandwidth.

      Of course though if that sort of infrastructure is in place, wireless companies are also wise enough to jump on the VoIP bandwagon for int

  • I now have to pay for *2* cell phones instead of just one.. sounds MORE expensive then just using my minutes!
  • Free? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Blindman ( 36862 ) on Monday June 27, 2005 @05:58PM (#12926382) Journal
    The plan requires two active cellular phone connections. Last I checked that isn't free. Sure, it will be cheaper than actually making direct calls, but that is not the same as free. Furthermore, it doesn't sound like it handles incoming calls, so really what you have is a flat fee for unlimited outgoing calls. This doesn't sound particularly free.
    • Re:Free? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by RJabelman ( 550626 )
      It's a better plan over here in the UK, where we don't have to pay to receive calls. (why you lot put up with paying for incoming calls, I don't understand....)
      • Re:Free? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by raju1kabir ( 251972 ) on Monday June 27, 2005 @11:47PM (#12928761) Homepage
        It's a better plan over here in the UK, where we don't have to pay to receive calls. (why you lot put up with paying for incoming calls, I don't understand....)

        Because when you add everything up, it's cheaper that way.

        Remember, you don't only receive calls, you make them too (even if you personally only receive calls, there would be no calls to receive if people in general weren't making them).

        Studies have shown again and again in that receiver-pays markets (e.g., USA, Singapore, China), the total amount paid by consumers per unit of mobile phone airtime is lower.

        This is because the person who is paying for the call is the same person who has market power in the relationship with the service provider. In the caller-pays system, the person who is paying for the call has no way to express their dissatisfaction with the rate by switching to a different provider, so it is not a competitive factor. The people who pay have to put up with whatever rates are in effect, or not make the call at all.

        Caller-pays is a huge swindle, built on a transparent lie, and it's costing European consumers billions.

    • RTFA. It apparently works for incoming calls too. Presumably their software automatically dials your preprogrammed cell number when an incoming call comes in via Skype.
    • Furthermore, not every carrier has free mobile-to-mobile; my Sprint PCS account only has free calls to other Sprint phones on the same family plan. And since that second phone costs $10 per month, not counting the cost of the plan itself, it's merely cheaper, not free.
    • The plan requires two active cellular phone connections. Last I checked that isn't free.
      You aren't checking in the right places [bargainshare.com].

      I've had completely free digital mobile service on 5 phones with T-mobile going on two years now.

  • Cost?? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by RapmasterT ( 787426 ) on Monday June 27, 2005 @06:01PM (#12926402)
    So instead of paying for cell phone minutes, I pay for cell service on two phones and an Skype account.

    Seems like you'd need to be spending a LOT of time calling international to make this worthwhile.

  • by MDMurphy ( 208495 ) on Monday June 27, 2005 @06:02PM (#12926415)
    A cable between the phone and PC running Skype is too narrow of a focus. The "home version" rather than someone trying to make a service buisness out of sounds better.

    Give me a bluetooth adapter than plugs into my POTS phone jack and communicates with the phone. This could be a regular phone line, or VOIP like Vonage. Then I can call out via link, or have incoming calls get transferred as well. As far as the cell company is concerned, I'm making a bunch of calls to the wife.

    Incoming should be fairly easy, all incoming calls to the home line get sent to a pre-configured number in the home cell phone. Outbound might be trickier since you'd have to tell the home cell phone what number to dial out.

    I'm sure it's coming soon, but a Skype-only solution that takes a cable, that's not all that exciting
  • by fishlet ( 93611 ) on Monday June 27, 2005 @06:06PM (#12926453)
    "Just how long till someone does this on a large scale, by overselling the dedicated lines, and starts selling true unlimited cell plans?"

    Just longer than it takes for some shady lawmakers to sneak in a law to prevent that.


  • Anyone here run a communications company?

    The first company who can give me a single, flat monthly bill for local, long-distance and international calls (be it landline, VOIP, or mobile) gets my business. I don't care if it totals a little more than I am paying now. I hate all those silly plans with different payment structures, different hours costing different amounts, long distance (sometimes including across town) costing more than local, strange rates per country for international, etc. etc. etc.

    No
    • In short, yes.

      International is the easiest to explain. They work with different prices THEY have to pay. If they would charge one price they will take the one that is most expensive, otherwise people will abuse it.

      Different hours is there because of competition. They want to give you the lowest rate while still making money. The reason these hours exist is because those cheaper hours, less people call if the prices are the same.

      Depending from company to company this can be different. A specific payment s
    • Broadvoice http://www.broadvoice.com/ [broadvoice.com] is pretty close to what you are asking for..

      Unlimited calling to 35 countries including the United States:
      Australia Netherlands Austria Norway Belgium Singapore Canada Spain Chile Sweden China Switzerland Denmark Taiwan France United Kingdom
      Germany Ireland Vatican City
      Italy Argentina Luxembourg Brazil Malaysia Czech Republic New Zealand Finland Poland Greece Portugal Israel Japan South Korea

      Calls to cellphones to some of the above countries cost money th
    • I suspect the International stuff is the hardest part to work out. So many different parties to deal with trying to stabilize a flat rate.

      Speakeasy OneLink comes close enough for me. $88/month for 1.5/384 ADSL, static IP, servers are fine with TOS. NO local analog line needed, bye-bye SBC! That plus VOIP with unlimited US & Canada including voicemail, callerID, call waiting, forwarding, 3-way, etc. I don't call outside the US, so I'm not even sure what those rates are. It hit my sweet spot. It ma

    • The first company who can give me a single, flat monthly bill for local, long-distance and international calls (be it landline, VOIP, or mobile) gets my business

      The problem is that the communications companies themselves have to pay varying rates.

      Even the wholesale rate to dial certain mobile networks can exceed $1/minute. That's about $43,000 per month. Do you expect them to offer this at $100/month and hope that no one will abuse it?

      Of course, you can add restrictions or additional billing
    • Yes. In many countries, charges for international phone calls are a major source of revenue. They aren't going to give that up without a fight.
    • http://www.lingo.com/ [lingo.com]

      * Unlimited US, local and long distance calls
      * Unlimited to Canada and 17 countries in Western Europe
      * 26 calling features like Voicemail, Call Forwarding and 3 way calling
      * Keep your phone number, Emergency Calling Service and more...
  • Flash is installed on more computers than any other program. Not only does Flash have a market share that dwarfs Windows and Java,

    This guy cannot possibly be serious!

    • Re:numbers wrong (Score:3, Interesting)

      by WoTG ( 610710 )
      It's not too far fetched, although I'd agree that "Dwarfs" is a little extreme.

      What's the Windows desktop market share? 95%?

      The vast majority of Windows and Mac systems have Flash player installed. I'd wager on 95% or more. And probably more than half of Linux and other OSS workstation boxes have Flash too.

      Now if you add in non-PC's, it's probably wrong. Java runs (albeit probably too slowly for voice) on a LOT of phones... and PDA's? Does Flash run on PocketPC yet?
  • by Myself ( 57572 ) on Monday June 27, 2005 @06:09PM (#12926479) Journal
    You might find that connecting the cellphone to the bridge device contradicts some term in the contract. If they figure out that this is what you're doing, they might decide to hit you with $0.50/min for all the "breach of contract" minutes, or something similarly evil.

    The mobile-to-mobile minutes are free for two reasons. First, they don't have to pay a termination fee for moving the call to someone else's network. Second, it's a sales tool to get your friends to sign up. By doing this, you sabotage the second goal, and they'll try everything possible to make your life miserable.
  • The Opportunity Here (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Nom du Keyboard ( 633989 ) on Monday June 27, 2005 @06:10PM (#12926489)
    The opportunity here is not for you to have a second phone tethered to your computer, but for some person to set up a bank of phones tied to broadband for each mobile phone carrier. If this person can manage to charge you less money and trouble than setting this up on your own, he (or she) has a new business opportunity.
  • by G4from128k ( 686170 ) on Monday June 27, 2005 @06:10PM (#12926494)
    Technology seems to be increasing the economic efficiency of the marketplace by supporting a type of business model arbitrage. If somebody offers something for less than it really costs or is really worth, people use technology to quickly find a way to exploit it.

    For example, cell companies offer free in-system minutes to encourage friends & family to recruit new customers -- a nice little viral marketing ploy and something that, I'm sure, reduces stress in friends & family cell phone conversations. But it also creates an opportunity because those free in-system minutes are worth something if they can be somehow converted to out-of-system calls. Hence the motivations for this little hack.

    Or consider the case of the single-use video camera [slashdot.org]. The unit is offered at a subsidized price (less than the true price of the camera) with the expectation that the consumer will return the camera and pay for the DVD conversion service. With a bit of hacking, though, a person can get a low-grade digital video camera for only single-use price of about $20.

    Technology allows people to exploit these situations (and publish the results), much to the chagrin of the businesses that use these models. I wonder if this will drive businesses to a true pay-for-what-you-get mode of operation. No cell minutes will be free because it will be too easy to abuse free minutes. No single-use device will be as cheap -- it will require a deposit for the value of the asset.

    That technology allows people to use products and services in unintended ways will force companies to change their products or business models to either lock-out unintended uses or build in a charge for the cost of those uses.
    • I suspect the opposite will happen, and they'll stop counting minutes altogether. Where I live, the cell cartel ($120 for 90 min/mo avg.) fell apart once the POTS phone company started offering unlimited wireless minutes for $50/mo (not including long distance, but I'm on an island so any long distance is international by definition). Once they crossed the line, the rest of the companies followed suit.

      I can't prove, but highly suspect, that per-minute calling is nothing more than milking the customer. I
      • Telephone rates have been traditionally based on business use, which determines the peak usage and the cost of the switching system and number of trunk lines. The system is designed to provide a specified quality-of-service during peak usage. Since the business users determine the system cost, they get hit with the highest rate. Residential users use the capacity that was paid for by the business users.

        Usage patterns have changed over the years and the costs of switches and trunks have declined considerab

    • I wonder if this will drive businesses to a true pay-for-what-you-get mode of operation. No cell minutes will be free because it will be too easy to abuse free minutes. No single-use device will be as cheap -- it will require a deposit for the value of the asset.

      If they also stop vastly overcharging for other services, I'd be all for it. Back-of-the-envelope, GSM voice bandwidth can send 60,000 characters per minute -- why does a 20 character text message cost the same as a minute of voice? Because that's
    • For example, cell companies offer free in-system minutes to encourage friends & family to recruit new customers -- a nice little viral marketing ploy and something that, I'm sure, reduces stress in friends & family cell phone conversations. But it also creates an opportunity because those free in-system minutes are worth something if they can be somehow converted to out-of-system calls. Hence the motivations for this little hack.



      Actually, they like getting an upfront fee in exchange for use of t
  • Another way (Score:5, Funny)

    by eugeneiiim ( 852592 ) on Monday June 27, 2005 @06:23PM (#12926596)
  • So "free" means I need to have two cell phone plans and a VoIP plan? Sign me up!
  • by kryptx ( 894550 )
    Working for an upcoming VoIP company, I can see where things are headed. Vonage is already connecting customers with WiFi phones. This means you have phone service, and you can use this phone anywhere there is a WiFi connection -- your office, Starbucks, or whatever.

    Since this upcoming VoIP company is an offshoot of a Wireless ISP, we also get to hear all the talk about WiMAX. Intel and Nokia are teaming up to implement it on a massive scale. Assuming that the frequency licensing does not become an iss
  • There are a number of companies selling VOIP to GSM gateways, you can see them all over the GSM world (which is everywhere except the U.S.). The boxes hold from a single GSM phone, up to a 19" rack which holds 32 GSM phones.

    These boxes are the bane of every data centre in Europe. You walk around and see a cabinet with a few of these boxes, a single VOIP router, and hundreds of magnetic car mount GSM antennas around the inside. Any data comms equipment with 10 meters gets huge numbers of errors because of a
    • "ou can see them all over the GSM world (which is everywhere except the U.S.)"

      Well, other than the fact that the largest wireless company in the US is GSM (Cingular), and the fact that nearly half of cellular users in the US use GSM, and the fact that the US is T-Mobile's 2nd largest market, I guess you're right. Having more GSM users than any European nation certainly doesn't qualify the US as part of the "GSM World".

      "stone-age american market"

      Are you talking about the "stone age" American market where
  • This is news? I've been doing this for months with asterisk, bluetooth, and broadvoice sip. $50 a month for Tmobile 2 line service and you end up with unlimited nationwide and some of europe (wife is swedish).

    Is handy for when she's at school, but who wants to call that much from a cell? Especially considering quality, it's not really worth it for most people who don't run around that much, and tmobile's reception is spotty. Will be a lot better when companies start setting things like this up so cell's be
  • ...Nextel offers unlimited everything for $200 a month, that's probably not too much more than the service for the two phones, plus it's much more convenient than having to go through Skype.
  • bah (Score:2, Informative)

    by macaulay805 ( 823467 )
    Bah, I've been doing this for years. Two applications:

    1. Calling my Asterix box and having it forward to regular numbers
    2. Calling my Dial-Up Server and surfing the internet

    Although the DUN Server is a little slow (9600 baud), it still serves it purpose of retrieving email. I used to have unlimited text messaging on my cell plan, I could just send commands (ie shutdown -r now) to my servers, but that option got removed.
  • We used to do this in the old school modem days with 3 way calling... you have no LD... Call a friend who did and wanted brownie points.. 3way modem to the latest hot download BBS... Or maybe it was the call forwarding... Anyways, been done before, its just a new implementation to use it with the Cell phone & then over IP..
  • by hunterx11 ( 778171 ) <hunterx11@ g m a i l.com> on Monday June 27, 2005 @11:17PM (#12928624) Homepage Journal
    It's really great to read about what Cringely has to say. But I think I also need to know what Dvorak thinks about this.

A man is known by the company he organizes. -- Ambrose Bierce

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