Jumping On The VoWiFi Bandwagon

from the but-why? dept

VoIP is hot. WiFi is hot. So, why not combine the two into a VoWiFi service? At least that appears to be the thinking of a number of companies who maybe haven’t thought through all the details. The latest is a Canadian company that is offering a softphone VoIP service for use at WiFi hotspots. That is, you get a piece of software that works as a phone on your computer. Then, whenever your computer is hooked up to the internet, such as at a hotspot, you can use your computer as a phone (assuming you have a headset). And they want to charge for this. They seem to be ignoring the fact that there are a number of similar VoIP providers that are offering free service (Free World Dialup, Skype, SIPphone, etc.). The big “difference” is that this new company, mobitus, already has a set gateway to a regular phone system. But, the others are all getting there, and don’t charge at all for the ability to use the basic service. Also, you have to wonder why the focus is on both ends of the VoWiFi equation with this one. Since people don’t tend to use hotspots all that often, isn’t this a solution that’s better pitched as just a VoIP solution, that you can use at the home, office or on the road – basically anywhere you have an internet connection? By pitching it as only useful at hotspots, they’ve cut down on their market quite a bit – especially since hotspot use is still very small. Besides, let’s face it, if you’re in a hotspot somewhere, is your first thought going to be to pull out your headset and use a clunky softphone interface, or to just pull out your trusty mobile phone? Update: Aha. Even better. Jeff Pulver has announced that, at least for the holiday season, Free World Dialup is now letting its users call any phone number entirely for free. I just tried it. You can do so yourself in a few seconds. Sign up for a FWD number. Download a free IP softphone like X-Lite, and voila. You have a solution that’s basically the same thing that mobitus wants to charge you for.

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