Does A Mobile To VoIP Bridge Break Any Laws?

from the only-in-the-heads-of-mobile-carriers dept

The concept of a mobile to VoIP bridge is nothing new. We wrote about a company doing exactly that back in May. The idea is that most VoIP plans have unlimited calling within the US (and sometimes Canada) and cheap international rates. So, if you could call into your VoIP phone from your mobile phone, and then redirect the call outbound, you could, in some circumstances, save money. Of course, it’s fairly limited circumstances. An increasing number of mobile phone plans include virtually (i.e., thousands and thousands of minutes) unlimited US calls already. So, this sort of thing really only makes sense for someone who makes a ton of phone calls from their mobile phone, and often makes international calls — where mobile rates are likely to be much higher. However, last month, a company named Xcelis, who is selling a similar VoIP bridge box made a lot of news for trying to offer the same thing as a service. That is, rather than hooking up a box to your home VoIP system, they hooked up the box to their own VoIP system and to a mobile phone. Since Cingular and T-Mobile offer unlimited mobile-to-mobile calling, the $10/month service lets you then redirect out your calls. Yes, if you read all of this and think it’s only useful for a small group of people and sounds somewhat complicated, you’re probably right. However, the mobile operators are a bit nervous that they might lose out on some international and airtime revenue and are suddenly trying to see what they can do to stop such a service. The answer is probably “not much,” for now. It’s not breaking any laws, though Verizon seems to think it constitutes a violation of their network (though, it’s unclear how). What’s more likely is that mobile operators will start putting terms in their contracts that explicitly forbid people from doing something like this — which is unlikely to stop the few people who this is actually useful for.


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Comments on “Does A Mobile To VoIP Bridge Break Any Laws?”

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9 Comments
Aswath (profile) says:

Xcelis may violate T&C of VZW

One of the conditions of phone-to-phone calling in VZW is that the mobiles should not predominantly be used in a single cell. Since the cell connected to their box will be stationary, calls to it will not be considered phone-to-phone calling, thereby undermining the basic economics of the proposal. This was pointed out in http://www.mocaedu.com/mt/archives/000080.html

Ben says:

This is easy do work around Sprint, and now Alltel

Sprint has left a giant hole in their system.

You can get UNLIMITED in and out minutes by doing the following:

Step 1 Go to http://www.voicestick.com and sign up for the USA/Canada plan @ $19.99

or the UNLIMITED Min. GLOBAL plan @ $24.99

Step #2 Sign up for the cheapest Sprint phone program, which is the Fair and Flexible at $29.99, then add the new Sprint to Home program for $5.00 a month.

Step #3 When you tell the Sprint agent your “HOME” number give them your new Voicestick home number

(Here is the trick. With Sprint to Home all calls to or from this “Home” number are not

chargeable and they are unlimited!)

Step #4 In your account set up at voicestick.com go to the bridge set up and put in your cell number and then go to call forwarding and set up your cell phone number there too.

Voicestick.com is the ONLY Cellular capable voip company that has a built in bridge, that I have found.What the bridge does is allow you to get a new dial tone to call out on UNLIMITED VOIP (or a pay as you go plan for 2 cents a min.) When I call my new “home” Voicestick number the VOIP company sees my caller ID and gives me a dial out tone. I then dial like normal. (You can even program voice stick into the address book of the phone)My person I call sees the voip number on their caller id and when they call back to my new “home” number it forwards to my cell.

So both out going and incoming calls are now free of Sprint charges.

Options: I also bought for $30 the MG3 line adapter so I also get a second line at my home that the kids now use.

I also downloaded the free Soft Phone so I use that too when I can’t find a good cell signal but I find a network or wireless connection (I am now covered just about anywhere)

To sum it all up! For my $35 basic Sprint plan and the $20 for voip, I have unlimited cell and a unlimited home phone.

Milan Thakkar says:

Re: Re: This is easy do work around Sprint, and no

voicestick shows your voicestick number on your caller id for incoming calls so sprint would still keep it free. The only downfall to this is that you loose your caller id. They just cancelled my service for excessive use. This is the email I just got from the security department…

Dear VoiceStick customer,

Your Voicestick.com account has come to me for my review. I am a
Security person at i2telecom.com, parent company of Voice Stick.

You are on a residential plan which means you have Unlimited SIP to
SIP calling as well as Unlimited Residential calls. We reserve the
right to cancel calling accounts that exceed what we consider usage
ABOVE residential usage. We also reserve the right, with this notice,
to upgrade you to a more expensive plan or terminate your account.

Your account has been flagged to me as you either are doing excessive
usage, excessive call forwarding or both. The usage, pattern, hours
and amount of calls is not residential in nature.

We have currently suspended your accounts, and can offer you the
reconnection of your service if you would allow us to put you on a
“Pay as you go” plan. Current rates for this service is 2 cents a
minute for USA out bound calling.

If you would like to change to this plan, please let me know. I am
not willing to discuss leaving you on your present plan.

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