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  1. HeyCori's Avatar
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       #1  
    I was reading the article below (it's interesting but long so I won't post the whole thing)

    Is Microsoft trying to end the reign of mobile carriers? (MSFT+Skype+Nokia) fox @ fury

    Going back to the three ingredients: Microsoft has a good mobile OS, they just bought a soft carrier in Skype, and whether the rumors of a potential acquisition of Nokia pan out or not, Microsofts recent deal with Nokia seems to go beyond a simple OS licensing agreement. If Microsoft is trying to turn the cellular industry on end, itll start out with Nokia hardware built to Microsoft specifications. No other hardware manufacturer would likely risk ******* off their major customers (AT&T, Verizon, etc.) with a move that so directly challenges the entire mobile industry.

    And of course Microsoft isnt alone in this ambition. Apple and Google each appear to have been moving to the same destination by different paths. Apples integration of FaceTime, first into the iPhone, then the iPod Touch, iPad 2, and Mac OS, is a clear move toward carrier independence. In a limited sense, the iPod Touch is already a wi-fi phone. It would take very little for Apple to build its own Facetime-to-POTS gateway and roll out a voice-only version to create an experience almost identical to a cellular carrier but living entirely in the data stack, using Wi-Fi when available.
    Basically the article challenges the notion that wireless carriers (sprint, att, verizon, etc) will remain at the top of the communications hierarchy. The author claims that carriers might one day be replaced by what he calls "soft carriers." Or in other words, carriers who deliver your phone service via wifi instead of going through a cell tower.

    At first I was a bit skeptical. My immediate thought was that I needed to be connected all the time. Then I realized it wouldn't be that bad because I have so many wifi spots around me. Furthermore, it would be great if it could drive down phone costs and monthly bills. However that raises another concern, what happens when your home network goes down? So does your phone. That would make more people reliant on their land lines, which I'm quite sure would make ATT happy.

    I'm not sure how much OS mingling needs to be done to make it all work, but if the price was right and the phone was good I could do a wifi only phone.
  2. Michael-Dallas's Avatar
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    #2  
    No -- to me, it does not make sense.

    I have a co-worker that's been in the states for the past 6 weeks from our Shanghai office. He is using a Google Talk number for voice and texting instead of buying cellular airtime. Great idea, but his accessibility becomes spotty. If I send him a text message or call him, he won't get it until he connects to a wifi hotspot. So if we're meeting somewhere for food and I try to contact him for change in plans, he won't get my text message if he's en route.

    If I wanted a VOIP device, then I would get a wifi tablet (and I did).

    Michael.
  3. Rico's Avatar
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    #3  
    No.

    First and foremost, we have to remember that smartphones are phones. I hardly use mine for voice calls, particularly for personal use, but if I know that when I need to make one of those old school voice calls, I've got something that fits the bill. I'd rather not be stranded on the side of the road and have to walk to a nearby neighborhood or business to hope they have an open AP. Sure, if you live in Silicon Valley or New York City or some other metropolis you could get away with using say Google Voice on WiFi only, but those that do are still very few and far between. At some point, you need to fall back on a cellular connection.

    FWIW, I agree with the article and came to similar, though not as well thought out conclusions after the announcement of the Skype purchase. Truly interesting time were in, and I'm rooting for Microsoft and others innovate in voice calls as well as messaging. I can easily see Skype becoming integrated into Windows Phones the way Google Voice does on Android, but with even more features. But even if MS were to roll out Skype integration like this in Mango (not happening), it would still take time for everyone, consumers and carriers alike, to catch with the idea.

    I can definitely see, five years from now if not sooner, MVNOs who build WiFi usage into their calling plans. An MVNO could sell you a block of data, then deduct from your bill the more you use WiFi as an incentive, for instance. I can also see a number of security issues as gobs of people casually use public WiFi with even more reckless abandon.

    Fun times.
  4. awarner's Avatar
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    #4  
    Not yet rather than a no.
    Until as I've posted elsewhere WiFi becomes more widespread and not just urban areas ie coffee shops etc then it would be a pointless purchase.
    But times are changing and WiFi technology is improving by the day so give it a few years and see how the situation changes.
  5. cdook's Avatar
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    #5  
    There were rumors a while back that Apple was looking to challenge the carriers, I think based on a patent application they filed. Basically they'd buy a pool of minutes from all the carriers. The user would buy minutes from Apple and the phone would use whatever technology was cheaper based on location. Minutes would be cheaper because Apple would buy in bulk.

    Hopefully Microsoft considers doing something like this too. I think my cell phone bill is higher than it should be.
  6. furygoalbrtis39's Avatar
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    #6  
    Well as I don't pay the bill (still on a family plan) it doesn't really matter to me, its a good idea, so basically a Zune HD with VoIP? I could see downsides as I don't live in the city so the only place that I have WiFi is in my house. And like Michael-Dallas said you couldn't change plans if the person was already on their way. Just my .02

    Sent from my Samsung Focus using Board Express
  7. starblade876's Avatar
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    #7  
    I don't know how many people remember, but, once upon a way back when, T-Mobile (I believe it was) actually released a sort of "hybrid" phone that was supposed to switch between wi-fi and cell when needed. Of course, I believe this "way back when" was actually around 2007, but whatever.

    I think the phone had problems, which I would guess is why it wasn't the big thing it sounded like it should have been (in addition to the fact that, smartphones were still basically out of reach of the general consumer market). Whatever the reason, I'm sure the other carriers would make as much as they could from overages and whatnot, so I'd guess that's another reason for the lack of forward movement of that technology.

    However, if MS/Skype/Nokia do come up with a wifiphone and are successful, I'd imagine carriers would be more open to the hybrid again.
  8. Roadster's Avatar
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    #8  
    If there any Wi Fi phone Ill be first in line and no matter how much it cost me.
  9. hunt's Avatar
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    #9  
    The wi-fi is really needed these days because where ever we go there is internet and through a wi-fi we can browse and find out what ever we need.
  10. threed61's Avatar
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    #10  
    Quote Originally Posted by GaMMa View Post
    There were rumors a while back that Apple was looking to challenge the carriers, I think based on a patent application they filed. Basically they'd buy a pool of minutes from all the carriers. The user would buy minutes from Apple and the phone would use whatever technology was cheaper based on location. Minutes would be cheaper because Apple would buy in bulk.

    Hopefully Microsoft considers doing something like this too. I think my cell phone bill is higher than it should be.
    Apple isn't exactly renowned for budget pricing. Wonder what the catch would be.
  11. jogabonitos's Avatar
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    #11  
    Never! The same is with Chromebooks, netbooks which are the most efficient with wifi.
    Very bad idea.
  12. cdook's Avatar
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    #12  
    Quote Originally Posted by threed61 View Post
    Apple isn't exactly renowned for budget pricing. Wonder what the catch would be.
    They could just be doing it to play hardball with the carriers. They'd never implement the idea, but maybe could use it as leverage to get more money from subsidized phones. It'd be a cool concept though.

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