Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/05/27/truphone_anywhere/

Truphone becomes a true phone

We don't need no stinking Wi-Fi

By Bill Ray

Posted in Mobile, 27th May 2008 14:36 GMT

Mobile-VoIP operator Truphone has expanded its offering with the launch of Truphone Anywhere, giving users access to their Truphone minutes from the cellular network.

Truphone offers cheap calls for Wi-Fi handsets when they're on the data network, but from tomorrow the Anywhere version of the company's downloadable software will use a local dial-up number to access the internet.

So when a punter dials a number the Truphone client will check to see if Wi-Fi is available, routing the call over that network if possible. Otherwise the handset calls up the Truphone gateway and passes them the dialled number for connection over the internet. This is the same way that 3's Skype handsets work, except they don't ever use Wi-Fi.

There seems little reason for a Truphone customer to opt to use Wi-Fi either, which might cause the wannabe telecoms company problems: part of its business model revolves around charging incoming calls for a mobile connection when actually using (free) Wi-Fi connections, but if customers don't bother connecting their handset to the Wi-Fi networks then that revenue disappears.

Truphone users had an incentive to keep connected to Wi-Fi when it meant cheap outgoing calls, but if the cheap calls are available without Wi-Fi then why bother? Truphone does offer presence capabilities that might encourage punters to stay connected, but once they've installed the Truphone Anywhere package they might decide to keep their bandwidth for other purposes. ®