Tag Archives: calling

Sprint adds International Wi-Fi calling to Galaxy S4 (w/ Sprint Spark)

sprint_720w

Sprint on Thursday announced a new software update for the Samsung Galaxy S4 w/ Sprint Spark. Once downloaded and installed over-the-air, the update will let users make international calls over Wi-Fi connections. What’s more, this will not cost the customer anything extra to use.

“We are excited to roll out International Wi-Fi Calling as part of our commitment to enhancing the customer experience and expanding the calling reach for our customers… Sprint customers won’t have to think twice about calling home while on vacation or away on business.”

The feature will work in more than 100 countries on both public and private Wi-Fi networks. Note that is is free to message and call the United States, US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Sprint expects to introduce the International Wi-Fi Calling feature to additional devices in time.

Sprint


AndroidGuys

Wi-Fi calling should come standard on all smartphones

I’m sitting in my grandmother’s house in my hometown, and I want to make a call. I pick up my phone, dial a number, and hit the giant red Call button. It fails.

I remember T-Mobile has literally no service in Pinnacle, North Carolina, so I connect to her Wi-Fi network. “I can use Wi-Fi calling,” I think. Nope. The Moto X doesn’t support Wi-Fi calling.

People, this is 2014. This should not happen. I have a perfectly good Wi-Fi network and a perfectly capable smartphone in an area with no service, and I still have no way to place a call, unless I pick up the landline and dial a 10-digit number on the plastic brick bolted to the wall.

With some hackery, you can enable VoIP on any smartphone.

I use my Google Voice number to place a VoIP call using GV Mobile+ and Talkatone from my iPhone. Sometimes I’ll use the official Hangouts app to do the same thing. From Android, you could use Viber to place calls using your mobile data instead of your minutes, or you could use an array of different calls which route your Google Voice calls through a data connection.

But that’s sidestepping the point. This is a function that should be built into every phone. Every phone. And it shouldn’t require users to jump through a series of hoops to route a phone call through another service.

t-mobile-wi-fi-calling

For what it’s worth, T-Mobile has the right idea … sort of. It has offered Wi-Fi calling for ages, at no additional charge. Making and receiving calls over Wi-Fi uses your plan minutes which, for most now, means it counts towards your unlimited number of minutes. No big deal. You can place and receive calls and text messages over available Wi-Fi networks until your heart is content.

Ideally, it would make even more sense for minutes and SMS used over Wi-Fi not to count towards your total allotment, just as data consumption is completely independent of your monthly data allowance. But it’s not that straightforward, since Wi-Fi calls are still tied to your 10-digit number. (Why we’re still on that archaic model, I don’t know.)

Either way, Wi-Fi calling is an option on T-Mobile and its monthly service is about as cheap as it comes here in the States (without going full prepaid), and unlimited, no less.

t-mobile-wi-fi-calling

However, Wi-Fi calling isn’t available to just any smartphone on T-Mobile. The feature has to be supported on your device. The software isn’t encapsulated in an application, but rather coded into the operating system. And that’s where T-Mobile’s whole model breaks.

Users can’t simply buy just any phone – in my case, a Nexus 5 or Moto X – and expect to be able to make calls over Wi-Fi. Even though the Moto X, Nexus 5, and any other smartphones, really, is capable of placing and receiving calls via Wi-Fi, it’s not possible with T-Mobile’s current setup.

At least it’s available on some devices, right?

Well, no. The bigger problem here isn’t the incompatible devices on T-Mobile, it’s that not every smartphone comes with the ability to place VoIP calls over Wi-Fi, out of the box.

moto-x-data-usageImagine if Wi-Fi capabilities were disabled on all smartphones, and users were forced to only use their data connection that they pay for each month. You would be at the mercy of the provider’s service and their data pricing.

If that were the case, I probably wouldn’t have three lines. I’d have one. And most of the money I spend on multiple lines, I’d be spending on data from one provider. Say I had Verizon. Based on the amount of data I use across all my lines, I’d be spending more than I pay for my T-Mobile service in data on Verizon alone – $ 90 per month, just for data. Chances are, I’d still go over, with all the music and podcast streaming I do.

As silly as having no Wi-Fi capabilities on a smartphone sounds, not having Wi-Fi calling is almost as ridiculous.

“But what about my number, Taylor?”

Forget about your 10-digit number. Apple and Google have the right idea. We should be using email addresses, usernames, or online identities for these types of communication anyway. I use Google Hangouts and Apple’s iMessage most of the time, as it is. If you place a voice or video call through FaceTime, it’s connected to your email address, primarily, though you can tag a number to your account, too. It’s the same with Google’s Hangouts service. On iOS, you can place a video or voice call through the official Hangouts app. And this is tied to your Gmail address. If you’ve signed up for Google Voice, it’s synonymous with your Google Voice number, but it works perfectly fine with nothing more than an email address.

No wireless service provider has 100 percent data or voice coverage everywhere. I’m reminded of that every time I leave the Charlotte metro area with my T-Mobile phone. A 30-minute drive in just about any direction leaves me on EDGE until I hit the next metropolitan area.

And visiting my grandmother’s house usually means I throw my phones on Airplane mode and leave them in the car. It’s not like I’ll get service anyway.

But if I want to make a call, I shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to do something our species has been doing since the late 1800s.


Pocketnow

AT&T offering free global texting, drastic calling discounts

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AT&T on Tuesday announced new additions to its Mobile Share and Mobile Share Value plans. Effective Friday, February 28, customers on either of these plans will be able to send unlimited text, picture, and video messages to nearly 200 countries around the world.

AT&T will also offer international calling at a rate of one-cent-per-minute to approximately three dozen countries. Called the World Connect Value plan, it is offered to all postpaid customers who add the $ 5/month feature to their rate plan.

Countries expected to offer the penny-per-minute deal include:

Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Colombia, Costa Rica, Curacao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Martinique, Montserrat, Nicaragua, Panama, Saba, St. Barthelemy, St. Eustatius, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Maarten,  St. Martin, St. Pierre and Miquelon, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, and Venezuela.

AT&T

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T-Mobile debuts new international calling options

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T-Mobile is a major carrier with always a different kind of approach, for example a service they offered recently known as Jump, and such unique style led T-Mo to have the best quarter in nearly a decade. Now, the major network is back again with yet another great international service, the Stateside International Talk & Text offer. People don’t call their overseas friends or family often due to the expensive rates, but T-Mobile wants you to feel the freedom.

For just $ 15 a month, you get the perks of the first international offer as well, and also unlimited mobile-to-mobile calling from the U.S. to more than 30 countries and up to 1,000 mobile-to-mobile minutes to Mexico. “In a world where the number of people using mobile phones is growing by leaps and bounds, and fewer and fewer people are using landlines, it just makes sense to do it this way”, said CMO of T-Mobile Mike Sievert.

Are you happy with the new offer? Let us know in the comment box below.

Source: T-Mobile

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Hands on with Google’s new Relationship-Based Voice Recognition and Calling (video)

Since the relatively early days of Android, Google has let us use our voice to do somewhat common tasks like sending text messages or emails. I could say “Send a text message to Bendito Papendorf: hey, I love the new book!”. But who is Bendito Papendorf, and why can’t I say “Send a text message to Mom”?

Before we dig into this new feature, be advised that it’s relatively new and might be rolling out in stages. If you haven’t gotten it yet, be patient. Next, there’s been a work around to this in the past. If you create an entry in your contacts with the name of “Mom”, you’ve probably been able to do this for quite a while. If you wanted “Mom” to have her real name in your address book, however, you could add a “Nickname” field, which might work, but not as reliably.

The “relationships” update to Google Now will let you set up those types of associations on the fly. No more hacks or work around required. Hit play and we’ll show you how to do it.

To get started, all you need to do is go to your home screen (or Google Now, if you’re not using the Google Experience Launcher) and say “Okay Google, call Mom”. At that point, Google Now takes over and asks “Who is ‘Mom’?” It listens for your response, but also lets you tap “Pick contact” to fire up your contacts list and manually select the person. Once that’s done, your command is executed, the relationship has been made, and the next time you say “Okay Google, call Mom”, your phone will remember who “Mom” is, and will take care of everything else for you.

Go ahead and give it a try. It works for Mom, Dad, Brother, and Sister, and should work for other relationships like Girlfriend and Boyfriend. The only thing we couldn’t figure out is how to undo that relationship once you’ve set it up. If you know how, head down to the comments and share what you’ve learned with the rest of us!

In the meantime, call your Mom. She misses you.


Pocketnow

FreedomPop debuts $4.58 unlimited calling, messaging plan

freedompop_plans

Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) FreedomPop has rolled out a $ 4.58 rate which is essentially half its former price. Indeed, you can take advantage of the plan which allows for unlimited calling and unlimited texting. What’s the catch? FreedomPop operates on Sprint’s CDMA and WiMAX networks and utilizes only a few, outdated smartphones. Specifically, the carrier sends voice calls over the data network (VoIP). For those of you who can’t be bothered with a monthly bill, FreedomPop provides a free plan of 200 voice minutes, 500 texts, and 500MB of data.

Joining the carrier’s handset roster this week, the Samsung Galaxy S II, can be had for $ 169.99. Yep, conceivably, this is all you might spend over the life of the plan. FreedomPop, for its part, expects to roll out LTE coverage later this quarter which is when we expect new devices to debut.

FreedomPop

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FreedomPop debuts $4.58 unlimited calling, messaging plan

freedompop_plans

Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) FreedomPop has rolled out a $ 4.58 rate which is essentially half its former price. Indeed, you can take advantage of the plan which allows for unlimited calling and unlimited texting. What’s the catch? FreedomPop operates on Sprint’s CDMA and WiMAX networks and utilizes only a few, outdated smartphones. Specifically, the carrier sends voice calls over the data network (VoIP). For those of you who can’t be bothered with a monthly bill, FreedomPop provides a free plan of 200 voice minutes, 500 texts, and 500MB of data.

Joining the carrier’s handset roster this week, the Samsung Galaxy S II, can be had for $ 169.99. Yep, conceivably, this is all you might spend over the life of the plan. FreedomPop, for its part, expects to roll out LTE coverage later this quarter which is when we expect new devices to debut.

FreedomPop

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Movirtu CloudPhone – First to extend virtual mobile numbers to tablets and laptops for mobile calling

Movirtu CloudPhone enables calls over Wi-fi from non-SIM tablets and laptops, using virtual mobile phone numbers

CloudPhone frees users from being tied to their handset when out of mobile coverage or when smartphone battery is low

Mobile operators can generate new revenue streams from virtual mobile numbers from their existing – as well as other operators’ – subscribers

Operator revenues also increase with voice usage on non-SIM devices and roaming

Press release

February 6th 2013.  Movirtu, an innovator in identity solutions for mobile operators, has unveiled CloudPhone, the first solution to use Virtual SIM technology to enable calls over Wi-fi networks from non-SIM tablets and laptops using mobile phone numbers. A white-labelled solution, Movirtu CloudPhone allows mobile operators to extend the reach of mobile services to non-SIM devices, bringing operators’ mobile numbers to the internet.

Operators can raise revenue by providing Virtual SIMs to existing subscribers (and other operators’ subscribers), from upgraded plans, and from terminating calls.

Operators can also boost roaming revenues via CloudPhone, while at the same time users can benefit from reduced roaming costs.

Applicable to both business and consumer segments, CloudPhone gives operators an effective solution to the growing competition from the likes of Skype and other OTT VoIP providers.

It also reduces churn by making users’ mobile numbers their principal identity for calls on non-SIM tablets and laptops.

With CloudPhone, tablets and laptops become virtual smartphones, freeing business users and consumers from being tied to their handset – for example when out of mobile coverage or when their smartphone is low on battery.

Based on the WebRTC standards, Movirtu’s CloudPhone is offered to operators as an end-to-end service with white-labelled clients that provide a smartphone-like calling experience.

Calls can be made and received to and from international/local mobile and landline numbers, using mobile numbers and their associated mobile subscriptions.

Delivering mobile services on Wi-fi and a user experience similar to that on a phone, CloudPhone is an alternative to femtocells in low coverage zones, eradicating the associated operational, technical and cost overheads faced by mobile operators who deploy and support femtocells.

Carsten Brinkschulte, CEO at Movirtu, said, “Mobile coverage issues and challenges with smartphone battery life need no longer be a problem for users.”

“With CloudPhone, they can use their mobile number from a tablet or laptop to make and receive calls over Wi-fi.”

“CloudPhone makes it easy for operators to extend their reach, bringing mobile numbers to the internet and even offering virtual numbers to other operators’ subscribers.”

“This delivers a competitive advantage while also increasing revenues and reducing churn.”

Richard Absalom, senior analyst with Ovum’s Enterprise Mobility and Productivity practice, added, “In today’s IT environment where users work from multiple devices – often using a laptop, tablet and smartphone to get their job done – there is an expectation that they be able to access all their content and mobile services, no matter where they are or what particular device they happen to have with them.”

“From this point of view, tying a phone number and thus an identity to every device an individual uses is a logical move for mobile operators looking to embrace and leverage multi-screening behaviour.”

For enterprises, a CloudPhone-based solution offers a wealth of use cases, including: –

  • Assigning additional corporate mobile numbers to BYOD devices and standardising on a mobile identity for employees
  • Replacing desk phones altogether and improving operational efficiency
  • Adding ‘Call Me’ buttons to websites/social media sites and capturing phone calls on Salesforce.com, to boost business development and customer interaction

For end users, CloudPhone makes it possible to make/receive calls from non-SIM tablets and laptops using their mobile number, with usage deducted from their mobile allowance (pre-pay or pay monthly).

When out of mobile range, consumers can use their phones, laptops or tablets to make and receive calls over Wi-fi.

Parents can also elect to assign multiple Virtual SIMs to family devices such as tablets, so that individual family members can have their own mobile number and can call from these devices.

Users can also have multiple virtual mobile numbers – for example, separate mobile numbers for dating, social networking, and online trading.

About Movirtu

Headquartered in London, and with regional offices in South Africa and India, Movirtu develops and markets innovative identity solutions for mobile operators in developed and developing markets. Movirtu’s patented Virtual SIM platform, which allows multiple numbers to be active on a single standard SIM card, enables mobile operators to deploy a range of compelling service offerings. Established in 2008, Movirtu is a private, venture capital-backed company.


GoMo News

Indians are buying more & more low cost tablets for calling

by our Indian correspondent, Asif Shaik

http://www.techsciresearch.com/2293

techsci’s indian tablet market report

The tablet PC market in India has enjoyed significant growth in 2013. It is expected that six million tablet units will have been shipped in 2013. According to TechSci Research, the tablet market in India generated around $ 2 billion revenue in 2013. Although Apple may be the King in worldwide tablet sales and revenue, the growth of tablets in India seems to be extremely favouring Android, mainly due to availability of low cost devices.

The largest contributor to the Indian tablet market has been tablets below the price tag of INR 10,000 ($ 200).

The most expensive tablet made by these suppliers costs INR 9000 ($ 143), which gives a pretty strong indication of the fact that low cost tablets continue to dominate the Indian tablet market.

While Samsung still rules the tablet market at the moment with over 19 per cent of the market, the remaining Top Five players are all manufacturers of low cost tablets.

Despite the Apple iPad’s near perfect hardware and OS, it doesn’t feature anywhere near the Top Five best selling tablets in India.

Whilst tablets are seldom used for making calls across the world, it still seems that calling is a key feature for Indian consumers.

All the top selling tablet brands in India also promote the calling facility in tablets and the list of such device is is growing with each day ( see MySmartPrice’s tablets with calling facility guide) .

The Indian market is also heavily influenced by the national government’s policy.

Thanks to the Aakash tablet initiative started by GOI,Datawind became the second largest player in 2012.

Also, the Indian government is heavily advertising use of cheap tablets for education which also means that Indian tablet market will have a huge base of young users, mostly school children in 2014.

The local governments in certain Indian states have already started special programmes to distribute low cost tablets to school children and laptops to students.

The average screen size of a phablet is fast approaching towards the 6 inch screen size while an average tablet screen measures 7 inches diagonally.

Clearly, an average Indian consumer likes making and receiving calls on an oversize phone or tablet irrespective of how odd it may look to onlookers.

The added benefit maybe the fact that tablet acts as a backup device should the smartphone’s battery run low.

Also, as a lot of Indians are primarily connected to the internet through cellular data connections.

A low cost tablet with a SIM card slot acts as an Internet connected entertainment device.

Asif Iqbal Shaik is a consumer electronics expert and computer science graduate turned technology Blogger. Asif is obsessed with gadgets, games, internet and technology brands. He is known as ‘gadget guru’ amongst his friends. He works for the Indian mobile phone price comparison web site, MySmartPrice.com.


GoMo News

Sprint WiFi calling rumored to launch soon

wificalling-sprint

According to this leaked screenshot obtained by sources with AndroidCentral, Sprint plans to soon launch WiFi Calling with two Samsung Galaxy devices.

The first to device to offer the feature should be the  Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini and Samsung Galaxy Mega. As is the case with T-Mobile’s smartphones, Sprint’s WiFi calling will be available at no monthly charge.

WiFi Calling is a service that allows you to make calls on your device via a WiFi Connection. This is most beneficial when you have poor service in your location. Sprint will receive less stress on the network as more users join WiFi Calling.

Sprint reportedly has plans to launch WiFi calling on future capable smartphones running Android 4.2 and above. Strangely enough, to take advantage of this function, you must have Android Location Services Enabled.

Reportedly, you can only use this service with a WiFi connection, but you must still be linked to the Now Network via CDMA. Users who utilize VPN services will be unable to use WiFi Calling services provided by Sprint.

If you’ve received a software update and have a compatible device, you can activate your WiFi Calling Service at Sprint’s Management Hub. More devices are to follow. Remember folks that this is a leak and that Sprint may opt-out at any time – however unlikely that may be.

AndroidCentral

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