Unlike Skype, a New iPhone App Makes VoIP Calls Over 3G

31 Comments

Peter Sisson, the founder and chief executive officer of Toktumi, a San Francisco-based VoIP startup, is elated. He was jumping with joy when I spoke with him earlier today. Why? Because Apple just approved the latest version (2.0) of his company’s mobile VoIP app, Line2. The app, which costs 99 cents, allows you to call and receive phone calls over both 3G and Wi-Fi networks.

What Toktumi has done is build a back end similar to that of Google Voice — but unlike Google, it’s gotten Apple’s blessing. It’s one of the more complete mobile VoIP apps currently available for download; I especially like the fact that it allows you to receive calls straight to your mobile phone over a cellular network even if you don’t have 3G or Wi-Fi coverage. It comes with its own features such as call waiting, conference calling, call transfer and even voice mails — in other words, the service is like a virtual second line on your phone. The service costs $14.95 a month for unlimited calls in the U.S. and Canada.

Toktumi, which launched at DEMO 2008, has had to traverse a difficult path to get to where it is today, and Sisson is understandably excited about the kind of exposure the approval from Apple of its app will bring. Sisson, a veteran of the VoIP business, sold his last company, Teleo, to Microsoft.

31 Comments

spdrcr2000

Thought i’d chime in here,i have been using Line2 for 2 months as a sole communication on iphone with no problems sounds great and costumer service is cool they helped me with my problems.Unlike skype, they found out i had jailbroke phone and canceled my service and returned my money . But hey like any other internet business it depends on servers and Line2’s are pretty good .Bottom line i like it better than most and ive used a lot of services.

Matt B

Wow, This is amazing. Just the beginning of the great things to come in the VOIP industry. Should be interesting to see how once can finally get rid of the voice plan and just keep data. Less headaches, more money in your pocket.

jb

Voice IS data, it’s a minor abstraction layer by a telco company to separate and charge for these services. What you pay a wireless telco for is their physical network and your level of usage. If you want to save money, jailbreak, get a PayGo account setup with TMo, add Line2, and get creative with your WiFi location skills. You might miss 3G at first but you’ll adapt and you’ll probably cut your wireless costs by at 50% annually – which is how you have to look at it. Think in annual numbers. And for gods sake, don’t continue with broadband AND a Ma Bell account, I know too many people who are too lazy to switch to Vonage.

Sasi Keuhner

Line2 has brought need for biz line on mobiles to the fore front. Though we really think the highlight is uMobility. It allows existing service providers to extend their IP Centrex-like services to mobiles without effort. The VQ is great and product supports iPhone, BB, Nokia, and soon releasing Android (I skipped mentioning WM!). The product is easy to use and notifies through APNS when in back ground.

This is the approach for success as they provide a solution with existing numbers – home or office. Rumor is that the company will bring similar service that works with wireless number by 2011.

Peter Mark

Apple Iphone is great with this application, I use this VoIP app and pay no more 4.99$ a month and i can call to anywhere in the world. My VoIP company is best what i ever seen.

Maybe somebody want find good company in place where living:
I finded my in directory of VoIP companies.

Thanks for article!

Arlo Gilbert

Is this an article or a product placement?

At iCall we offer 3G and WiFi iPhone VoIP calling and for 10 dollars a month you get every single service that this Line2 app gives you, our app is free and we offer additional services that Line2 does not offer.

Congratulations to Toktumi for being approved but I think they will find that the reality of being in the App store is very different than what they are hoping for.

-k-

YES SKYPE CAN make calls over 3G on JAILBROKEN iPhones.

If I understand correctly, this company charges 15$ a month (which is outrageous) for VoIP to VoIP calls not VoIP to landlines and mobiles such as skype out.
Even if it did Skype out does the same thing for a fraction of the price. SKYPE OUT costs 5.95$ a month and provides UNLIMITED calls to LANDLINES AND MOBILES.

In other words the app mentioned in this post is worthless and even a ripoff, only reason to use it would be if you are too lazy to jailbrake your iphone to use skype out.

Anon

I guarantee that this app was allowed specifically to protect Apple in the FCC’s investigation with regard to denying Google’s app. While this is a similar app, a small company cannot compete against Apple (Google even sells a smart phone now).

John

It is great news, but quality????
I delete it if it will work as skype.
To my mind companies should establish wi-max and inlude support of wimax in phones. It will really cool. I as user can download a lot of info via phone and can talk a lot.
I think it will as VHS->Discs->Flash->direct TV->?
Thank you.

David Chartier

Skype has already stated that it’s updating its app to make calls over 3G. A post is on their company blog. This is the second GigaOm site to apparently not be aware of this.

It’s coming guys.

Om Malik

Not sure what you mean by that. I think they are still not clear about when they are going to release the upgraded app.

Dave Chartier

I mean that the headline and comments in the post make it sound like you weren’t aware that Skype is updating to make calls over 3G. Naturally they aren’t clear on when they’ll release, because they’re smart developers: “it’ll be done when it’s done” is the best deadline to give when you’re still writing an app and polishing code. Best to under-promise and over-deliver than set an arbitrary deadline and miss it due to unforeseen circumstances, needlessly disappointing the constituency.

PetalsNYC

i seriously dont get why google voice isn’t on the iPhone yet? this and a bevy of other apps replicate so many of the iPhone’s core functions, but they haven’t been banned? why is nobody questioning this anymore and did the fcc just file away their inquiry?

i just can’t justify paying for this when google voice is free..

Jess

Could you elaborate a little on how you “receive calls straight to your mobile phone over a cellular network even if you don’t have 3G or Wi-Fi coverage”.

It’s possible you are referring to 2G, Edge or some type of roaming method, but outside of 3G or Wi-Fi, I can’t imagine that the VoIP experience would be a good one.

Jess

After mulling it over a bit, I suspect you mean that your 2nd number will forward over to your regular number on the cellular network. Nice feature, but any good SIP provider can do this with failover.

I’m currently using Acrobits and it works very well. Like it, because it let’s me choose who my SIP provider is going to be. Good SIP providers can be hit or miss. I like to stick to the ones that have a solid reputation in call quality, good customer service, and look like they may be around for awhile.

Om Malik

of course any other voip provider can offer this service and some actually do, the point is that these guys are essentially providing the best feature mix of all needed features for a decent line2. I have been using this for a couple of hours and can say: impressive.

Om Malik

as to good sip providers, do you have any names? last I checked even the likes of AT&T and Verizon turned off their voip services randomly. there is no such thing as a sure thing in this game to be honest.

Jess

Some of the favorites that rise to the top on several technical forums are: Callcentric, Vitelity, Future Nine, and Voip.ms. I use Callcentric and Vitelity myself, and never have any call quality issues or problems with downtime.

I have no problems setting up business clients who are dependent on phone service with either of those two.

Jeshek Bulavitski

Is it really gives full control of how to place calls? Can it disply my cell phone number on the caller ID if I make a call using Wi-Fi? I am sick and tired of my long bills from Ornage. Can I subscribe from Poland?

Stephane Haddad

It’s very strange why Skype is not providing the new app who works over 3G?!

As a SIP provider, it takes less than one day for our developer to change the code for our app to works over 3G & WiFi. At this time, the new ippi app is waiting approval from Apple.

So, why it takes all this time for Skype, is an interesting question…

Mark

My guess is that his point is there are free options out there as opposed to paying $14.95/month.

Dave

Fringe is only Fringe to Fringe though. You cant just call anyone with Fringe unless they already have it on there phone!

David

I think it would be hysterical if Google bought them. Then I’d like to see Apple try to back peddle out of the app’s approval.

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