Like London buses you wait an age for one to come along and then two appear at the same time!? Yesterday I heard about two UK start-ups. TruPhone and ConnectMeAnyWhere that want to save you money by routing your calls over the internet rather than via traditional telephone operators.
Truphone is a piece of free software, you download, that enables Mobile over IP (MoIP). Once downloaded, you will be allocatted a Truphone number, which you can use to get a number of benefits over your current mobile. To begin with only users in the UK and US will get Truphone numbers appropriate to their countries (i.e. +44 and +1 respectively) but more countries are coming shortly.
Truphone works wherever you have access to the internet via Wi-Fi. i.e your home, office, public areas or commercial hotspots (coffee shops, airports etc). which means free mobile calls to other Truphone users or very cheap calls to anyone else. And as a remarkable launch offer, they are offering free calls to 1.6 billion landlines until Dec 31st 2006. Much like the recent SkypeOut offers in France and America which Skype haven’t yet introduced in the UK?
One of the unqiue and most impressive things about Truphone, apart from the company started out in a cow-shed in Kent, is the fact that they are a software-only network operator and better still, have built the network using freely-available open source technology and internationally-recognised open standards. For example, the core PBX platform is based on Asterisk. If you want to know more about the software used, you can read about it here.
They also have a very interesting http://www.testyourvoip.com/ service to help you configure your wifi which was very enlightening about the different wifi standards. At the moment, Truphone is only available on the Nokia’s E-series, but there aim is to quickly be available on other compatible phones.
In contrast London based ConnectMeAnywhere (CMA) also would like you to use your mobile phone for international calls, also saving you money by using VoIP network (SIP backbone), but they can do so without you having to download any software or install any new hardware. In fact users don’t even need to connect to a computer to make a call.
What makes us different is that we allow anyone who can register to call almost anyone else from a real phone, not a pc. This means that you can call from your mobile, your land line and/or your work number. We do almost the opposite that Skype are doing with the DDIs. We don’t route inbound calls to you, we route your outbound calls to whoever you choose. We are focussing heavily on the phones and not the web to make the calls which makes the quality better (no pc or desktop software).” said Rayan Gallagher from CMA
Babble.net who will be offering CMA’s services to their users, allowing them to access their VOIP credit online, or off. Here is a link to their HTML Demo. If you owuldlike to seem more of ConnectMeAnywhere they will be featured on BBC Click tonight.
Other companies in this the same MoIP space include RebTel a Swedish based company who launched a product that will allow users to dial any international number at the cost of a local call. It works by having the two ends of the call use local connections (over low-cost local calls) to a VoIP point and then bridge the call to the recipient at the other end over the net.
And here is a list of other VoIP alternatives: