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March 27, 2007

Mobile VoIP Provider Truphone Letting US Customers Make Free Calls

By Patrick Barnard, TMCnet Assignment Editor

Mobile VoIP provider Truphone announced today that US customers with WiFi (News - Alert)-ready Nokia smartphones will be able to make free international calls to landlines in 40 countries throughout April, May and June. This, in effect, is an extension of the company’s current price promotion (ending on March 31), during which customers have been able to make free mobile VoIP calls across the USA and Canada.

London-based Truphone announced last month that its mobile VoIP service is now supported on all WiFi-enabled Nokia (News - Alert) handsets, including the popular new E- and N-series. Subscribers to Truphone’s mobile VoIP service can use these dual mode, GSM/WiFi phones to make VoIP calls - for either free or dirt cheap - over WiFi connections.

The company plans to support additional WiFi-enabled phones, including those built on the Windows Mobile platform, in the near future.

Aside from the current promotional offer, VoIP calls between Truphone subscribers are free worldwide, while calls to landlines and other mobile phones are charged at characteristically low VoIP rates. Currently, UK subscribers can dial some two billion landlines in major countries for free.

Truphone’s software integrates seamlessly with a WiFi phone’s existing address book. Once set up to use a WiFi hotspot, the handset connects automatically next time the phone is in range. This “seamless handover” between networks is a critical feature because users do not want to be burdened with having to manually switch the phone over when entering a “hot spot.”

The company plans to add new features to the service over time, including support for Truphone SMS messaging, presence functionality, and, further out, geo-location and community-building.

The SIP-based mobile VoIP platform employs several leading-edge techniques, including the self-healing, small-footprint AMR codec to ensure optimal call quality even under less than optimal conditions. Plus, unlike other WiFi applications, it uses smart, low-level coding to minimize power consumption.

Truphone also recently announced that Google (News - Alert) Talk users can now connect with Truphone mobile handsets anywhere in the world for free.

“We’re delighted to be making it so attractive for people to try internet telephony on their mobile handset, instead of being tied to their computer,” said James Tagg, Truphone’s CEO, in a press release. “The convenience of a normal, mass market cellular handset and free international calls is an unbeatable combination for the consumer.”

Countries to which any on-net Truphone user worldwide may now make free calls to landlines include China (landlines and mobiles), Mexico (Guadalajara, Mexico City and Monterrey), Russia (Moscow and St. Petersburg) and most European Union countries.

Tariffs to some paid-for numbers may have changed from the previous promotional period. Truphone’s full tariff document is available at www.truphone.com.

Truphone is not a replacement for an traditional telephone service, as emergency calls cannot be made using Truphone. However Truphone does not prevent emergency calls being made via a handset's normal cellular service provider.


Patrick Barnard is Assignment Editor for TMCnet and a columnist covering the telecom industry. To see more of his articles, please visit Patrick Barnard’s columnist page.


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