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How do you get your mom to stop calling you every second day, and repeating, well, “when are you going to get married son… you know all your friends are trading their first ones in for new wives and you haven’t gotten out of the blocks […]

How do you get your mom to stop calling you every second day, and repeating, well, “when are you going to get married son… you know all your friends are trading their first ones in for new wives and you haven’t gotten out of the blocks yet!” I say, give her a VoWiFi phone. It looks like a cellphone, and is very cute and all. Tell her, this will save her tons of money. Even the venerable New York Times gives the concept a thumbs up. (Like you, she would not know if the reporter has actually tried to use one of these gizmos!) And when the phones don’t work, do your best French impersonation and shrug your shoulders and say, well Times said they are the shizzle. Guess what you will many options to choose from. Zyxel, Vonage, Siemens, Motorola and Nokia – all will have some offerings. Others are putting the VoWiFi phones right into the cellphones. I was half-skeptical about these devices, but you don’t have to tell mom that!

Since then, I have improved my math skills from first grade level to second grade level. My best estimate is that even if the handset is free, the VoIP service will cost you about $25 a month (unlimited), and the WiFi access will cost you about $30 a month if you travel a lot. At home wifi is for free though. Now if you have a good cellular wireless plan – $80 a month for about 1250 minutes with unlimited weekends and nights, then your total phone bill is going to be around $135 a month. Instead if you went over the limit of your cellphone by 120 minutes, you will still pay around an extra $36 a month. Of course you can switch to the basic $40 plan and make a compelling case for VoWiFi. Can you smart people do the math on these VoWiFi or dual mode – wifi+cell phones – and get back to me? Maybe I am thinking too narrow here?

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  1. The pricing structure in Europe, or at least here in Germany, is very different. Most cellular wireless plans do not include any prepaid minutes. PSTN/landline contracts usually do not include unlimited calls or if they do, only on weekends. Only a few months ago the first medium-sized telecom companies started offering unlimited calls for additional 20 EUR/month, but such options are not available by the ex-monopolist Deutsche Telekom.

    Under these circumstances, the offerings of SIP-based VoIP providers are very attractive. Providers like Sipgate have either no or a very low (3 EUR) monthly fee, and their per-minute prices are among the lowest that you can find anywhere. You just register and can use them immediately.

  2. It seems like you are thinking that wireless access is going to continue to cost as time goes on instead of become cheaper or more commonly free. As internet becomes cheaper it would seem that WiFi will become a free service to encourage customers to visit a location instead of another item that can be sold. I have already started to see it happen in my city, Tulsa, some older more established businesses have you pay for wireless and some newer businesses give it away. It has an effect on me and my friends.

  3. I have purchased the Zyxel wifi phone recently and signed up with BroadVoice (it was the only company I was able to find which offers SIP only services). The main reason is to make cheap calls to Turkey. Now, I am in the process of purchasing two more phones that support SIP for my mother and my sister who are both in Turkey and have ADSL connections. That way, I will be able to talk to them for free by using a service such as FWD. I think options are a lot as long as you know what you are doing. I even saw an adaptor Pulver sells to create your own gateway. By setting it up properly, I can add that to my sister’s ADSL line, connect it to the local landline cable, and make even cheaper calls throughout Turkey. Making a call to a Turkish landline number through Broadvoice costs 0.10 cents/minute, making a call in Turkey costs 0.04 a minute. During the discounted period (8pm – 6am) it is about 0.02 cents/minute. The adapter from Pulver is about $150.00. These developments in my opinion are very exciting. Verizon local and ATT wireless both charge 0.45 cents a minute to Turkey. I am quite angry at myself for not having thought about using VOIP before.

  4. Jesse – good point. I have to say, that might be why Cingular is looking to push the combo technology. spend less for higher speeds.

  5. Hey sport,

    When you graduate to the second grade in english, you may stop thinking less “narrow” and more “narrowly”. Until then, consider this. Mom started using a pbone 50 years ago. She may not know all that she can do with a WiFi device. Why don’t you send a few pictures over a celluar network ans see what that costs her. If she has a broadband connection at home, and I’m assuming that’s where moms hang out, all those calls will be free to her son who is smart enough to have a VoIP connection. She may also realize that she can use one WiFi connection for herself and five of her neighbors, or she can go to a local coffee shop and call for free. She may also live in a town, like Orlando, which gives you free WiFi downtown.

    Or she may have none of those things, now or in the forseeable future. In whcih case I would say “Go West Virginia!! We’ll get’em next year.”

    The future belongs to WiFi.

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