25 May 2007
In a move that may free VoIP users from their home or office net connections, a UK internet provider has launched a wireless VoIP (wVoIP) service that will tap into any compatible Wi-Fi network.Velophone announced a service that will allow callers to use their existing SIM card and then automatically switch to making calls over VoIP when in range of a designated Wi-Fi hotspot. The VeloMobile service will initially use a handset from Taiwanese manufacturer HTC, but compatability with a Nokia handset is being tested.Speaking at a wireless internet industry event in London, Velophone managing director Mark Gordon said the service will make it easier for VoIP users to make cheaper calls on the move."Many dual-mode devices today require the subscriber to select the network to use; we have created a solution so that the handset automatically does that for them," he said.Users in Europe would receive call charges of just 5p a minute but will have to pay a £30 monthly fee for the service, although the company said that discounts may be offered for companies with large numbers of users. However, Velophone may face opposition to its service from mobile networks who fear losing out on call revenue.Recently in the US, carriers forced the removal of Wi-Fi connectivity features from the Nokia E61 phone, although Velophone said it hopes to avoid such problems by marketing its service purely to business clients.