Neither iPhone or OpenMoko are revolutionary

Andreas Kostyrka andreas at
Thu Jan 18 16:59:56 CET 2007

* Attila Csipa <plists at> [070118 11:26]:
> On Thursday 18 January 2007 10:01, Renaissance Man wrote:
> > Truphone. You can take their software package, put it on the cheapest
> > supported WiFi/GSM enabled phone you can get and then you have a
> > phone that seamlessly swaps between WiFi and GSM with one phone number.
> Just out of curiosity, did you actually try this ? I would be very curious to 
> find out how do they accomplish this from a technical standpoint. A sort of 
> auto-redial via GSM I can understand, but _seamless_ switching without 
> carrier assist (not to mention the delays of connection establishing) is 
> quite a feat if they can do it.

It's basically "trivial". You get one number, that rings on different
numbers. It rings once on the sipphone, and once on the GSM part.
If the phone is clever, it will prefer to make the connection via sip.

The actual implementation can be tricky, but this kind of things are
already being done. Especially, the question is who is paying for the
GSM termination fees. (It might mean that you basically switch back to
a mobile-user-pays-for-receiving-calls model)

E.g. C't two years ago or so explained a setup where with certain
german networks one could achieve a landline number that forwards to a
mobile without the expensive mobile termination costs. (the
termination fees are what makes calling mobiles expensive, at least in
Europe, and calling landlines basically near free, whereever)

What is cool about SIP based VoIP phones is the level of
experimentation and control that they allow, while at the same time
being non-geek compatible.

> > The problem with the Nokia E Series, N80s, and Windows smartphones is
> > that they're either very expensive and/or they don't actually make
> > VoIP via WiFi easy. 
> Why should they risk ? They are selling millions of handsets through carriers, 
> and they sure don't want to lose those contracts. Take the iPhone, and let's
> see what would have happened if they 'got it'. Add some $ to counter the 
> costs of wifi (not just the HW itself, but for the whole feature), discard 
> the carrier subsidy and now you have a carrier free funky wifi don't leave 
> the country phone that has to be recharged daily and costs 800-1000$. Doesn't 
> impress me all that much. 

Well, it would be a really nice option, BUT that's the crux of this.
It strictly depends upon local conditions. If you can get city-wide
WiFi for GBP10, that's nice and be acceptable.

OTOH, I can get landline calls for 0-1 cent in Austria, even with
relative cheap calling plans. So any solution that centers around
converting this "call to landline" functionality to be able call other
destinations or accept calls is cool.

Calling plans in Germany works a little bit different, but are
comparable to the Austrian situation.

OTOH, there is no Wifi outside home for reasonable fees. Actually,
having seen a number of customers offices I wouldn't expect many
companies in Germany to use WiFi. And most corporate networks would be
not sip-compatible anyway, because they have only http-proxy level
access to the net.


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