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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  1. identicon
    Milan Thakkar, 23 Jan 2007 @ 9:48pm

    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 account has come to me for my review. I am a
    Security person at, 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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