Everybody loves handheld (like iPhone) data and web access. In fact, in a recent call with a very large west coast chip company, their IT’ers found it hard to believe that the trend was for senior execs to not take a laptop with them, and totally rely on a cell (Blackberry, iPhone) for access.
But that said, let’s just talk about POTS (plain old telephone service).
But wait, it isn't that plain anymore, especially on the iPhone.
Besides the normal AT&T service (enter a number, call, talk, hang up, see the minutes on my monthly AT&T bill) I now have 2 other options that I typically use overseas:
Find a WIFI signal, open the Skype app, dial a phone number, talk, hang up, get billed 3-30 cents a minute, based on country, anywhere in the world (pay with PayPal).
And now (as of Sept)
Find a WIFI signal, open the Vonage app, dial a phone number, talk, hang up, get billed 5-25 cents/minute, based on country; a minimum 35 cents monthly charge, even if not used)
Get within 3G range, open the Vonage app, dial a phone number, talk, hang up, get billed the same Vonage rate as above plus use my AT&T minutes (i.e., its a double dip - the minutes show up on my monthly AT&T bill because the call gets routed to a Vonage access point phone number, and then forwarded to the number you dialed).
From a geek perspective – this is all really cool. And has great potential for reducing my overseas phone bill (which IMHO has always been a rip-off).
From a POTS perspective – can we (the telecom/software industry) make this anymore complicated? I’ll bet we can…but I suppose freedom of choice always is more complicated..note (in the US) the result of the original Bell system breakup, or energy deregulation.
Wait until we can use any third party VOIP technology over the traditional 3G/4G network (lots of behind the scenes fighting going on over that right now). Something Paul Debeasi has been predicting for some time now (Paul is our mobility analyst). His blog is here. Paul has been doing research on mobility and cell phone policies and governance within organizations – an area seeing a lot of change lately, as evidenced by these options. Makes for a lot of strategy options for the traditional carriers (to put a positive spin on it).
In the meantime, road warriors are loving it, and my EU travel phone bill is down by 80%.