By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Free and low-cost international calls from cellphone-to-cellphone and to landline phones are promised by the Mobivox VoIP service, available in beta form from mobile application service provider Mobivox.
The hosted service, available to users in 23 countries, un-tethers Internet calling from PCs and home-based VoIP phones, and it can be used with any cellphone because it requires no cellphone data plan or software download. Users dial a Mobivox local-access number as if they were dialing any regular phone number. Once a voice connection is made, an automated assistant and voice-recognition technology enable callers to place calls. Callers say the name of the person they want to reach if they previously entered the name into their Mobivox contact list. Callers can also dial the recipient's number or name.
Free cellular-to-landline and landline-to-landline calls are available between Mobivox users. The standard charge for a call to a non-Mobivox user is 1.9 cents/minute, excluding any taxes.
The service, said to be the first to bring Skype service to a mobile device, also delivers free mobile calls to any online Skype users, whose presence can be announced on the caller's mobile phone.
Free Mobivox-to-Mobivox calls to landlines or cellphones are available to Mobivox users residing in nine countries, and free calls to landlines only are available in 32 countries. Mobivox users can call other Mobivox users' cellphones or landlines for free in Canada, China, Guam, Hong Kong, Puerto Rico, Russia (Moscow and St. Petersburg), Singapore, Thailand, all 50 United States and Venezuela-Caracas.
Any landline phone can be called for free in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Chile, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico (Mexico City, Monterrey, Guadalajara), Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey (Ankara and Istanbul) and the United Kingdom.
Before a call connects, Mobivox will tell the caller whether the call will be free or not.
To reduce the use of cellular minutes, users can transfer calls from mobile to home phone and vice versa during a conversation. Users would press the star button and say "transfer home." The user's home phone will then ring.
Free calling is limited by the company's fair-use policy, which limits a user's free calls to 250 minutes per week. Free calling to other Mobivox users is also restricted to active Mobivox users, defined as having made at least one call in the last seven days and the recipient's phone number is registered with Mobivox.
Free calls incur only normal airtime charges to a Mobivox local-access number.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.