Swedish company TerraNet has developed a system to let mobile phones communicate with each other without base stations — each handset has a range of about one kilometre, and can act as a node to extend the reach. Ericsson has invested around 3 million pounds in TerraNet, reports the BBC.The main idea is for those areas not currently covered by mobile networks, which also tends to be the places where people would be most interested in free calls, another main feature of the service. Of course, if voice can work this way so should data, although the company only talks about text messages. I’m assuming the technology uses the wireless teck already in the phones, otherwise you may as well just chuck a WiMax connection in the handset. Terranet recognizes that it’s going to get some resistance from telcos, and that there may be problems with having enough available frequencies. I’d also be concerned with battery life, although if the phones are replacing landlines they can be left plugged into a power source. This relates to another BBC article about mobile phones being used in developing countries.