September 25, 2007 |
Truphone is a beta-stage service that currently offers mobile phone users free calls via wi-fi and 3G by routing calls over the internet rather than through a traditional mobile operator. Users can also send text messages to other Truphone users free of charge.
The iPhone client is hardly ready for release, as Oliver Starr, who witnessed a call made through the client, mentions that “it currently requires the use of terminal on the iPhone to tell the iPhone to use its on-board SIP stack to place the call over WiFi instead of via the SIM card.” Although it is still unfinished, Truphone looks to have a very promising service for iPhone users who are ready to save after the expensive phone purchase.
Truphone has stated that it must still simplify the activation and add the ability for the client to seamlessly switch back and forth between VoIP use and SIM card use when necessary.
It is exciting to hear that VoIP is spreading into the mobile market, because up until now there have been very few choices as far as mobile providers and the per-minute charges for these services can run quite high. With a mix of mobile minutes and VoIP, mobile phone users can talk longer and save money, while still not going over their monthly minute quota.
Although Skype offers mobile features, they are limited to Windows Mobile and Nokia N800 users. Despite this, there are alternative options that can help give the iPhone the VoIP capability of Skype, including SoonR Talk and Shape Services' Skype for iPhone. You may find the SoonR method using up some of your SkypeOut credits, however, as it does not provide a 100% Skype-to-Skype phone call.
Maybe now that Truphone has a client for iPhone in the works, we will soon see one from Skype. Wishful thinking?