T-Mobile launches landline VoIP service nationwide

June 30th, 2008

T-Mobile announced a nationwide VoIP-based landline phone service that offers subscribers unlimited domestic calls for $10 a month. The service, called T-Mobile @Home, is the lowest priced unlimited plan in America. The T-Mobile @Home is available exclusively for T-Mobile customers, effective July 2, 2008.

T-Mobile customers can add T-Mobile @Home service to a qualifying T-Mobile wireless plan (most plans priced at $40 and up qualify) and get unlimited nationwide long-distance calling, plus call waiting, caller ID, three-way conferencing, voicemail, call forwarding and other features like custom ringback tones. The @Home service also allows customers to port their existing home phone number.

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VOIP a good call for the future

June 23rd, 2008

Worldwide telephone producer Teledex has been in the telephony business for more than 20 years – supplying telephones to numerous hotels across the region – leaving vice president of marketing Dean Compoginis well placed to comment on emerging markets. And he’s positive about the Middle East.
“We understand that the Middle East is probably the most dynamic growth market in the world right now for hotel telephones, so we’re actively seeking to grow our presence in the region. Within the next year you’ll see a much larger presence because our customers have been asking for that,” he says.

The firm has a vast range of telephones, comprising a number of analogue and voice over internet protocol (VOIP) models, but Compoginis says that the Middle East market is only interested in a small number of those products.

“I believe our most popular products are our i-Phone and our Opal lines, which are a little bit sleeker in their presentation. We don’t see as many sales of our Diamond product line, which is a more angular, older design,” he adds.

“It’s been our most popular design worldwide for many years, but I think that’s basically because it’s been out there the longest. We see more sales of our most recent products in the Middle East. It’s a little bit more of a fashionable market for us.”

This is perhaps understandable given the preponderance of five-star hotel chains spread across the region. As Compoginis explains, moderately-priced, limited service hotels would have “very basic requirements”.

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YouNeverCall Announces Free Wifi WorldWide for Your Laptop

June 18th, 2008

YouNeverCall Inc., a leading online provider of Wireless Cell Phones announced today the general availability of The Go Button a free Windows application that analysts believe will revolutionize wireless internet, by making it available free worldwide. The company’s Patent Pending technology enables internet users anywhere to connect to the nearest Wifi hotspot without the need to select a specific WiFi network. “While techies have always been able to find open wireless networks and connect, the majority of laptop owners find themselves frustrated when trying to connect to open wireless networks, especially in urban settings where they may be confounded by a great number of networks, many of which appear to be open, but will not allow internet access,” said Sam Michelson, VP of Marketing for YouNeverCall Inc.

TheGoButton extends Microsoft Windows’s own Wireless capabilities, simplifying the process of identifying and connecting to open networks. While there are many services and applications that provide maps of available wireless networks, ‘The Go Button’ (TGB) was created to solve a more pressing need. “We wanted to provide a solution for the businessman or college student who just needs to get online to read some email or Skype with his girlfriend” said Michelson. The Go Button is so easy to use that, once installed, you don’t even need to press a button, it simply scans the available wireless networks and finds the strongest open signal in your area. Once connected, users are able to use all internet features including Email, Chat, Voice, and full Web Surfing.

Controversy: While critics have called TGB, a ‘Wifi Stealer’, claiming that it will enable laptop users to more easily connect to their neighbors’ networks, YouNeverCall’s extended beta program suggests that the vast majority of users utilize TGB to access networks that are officially open to the public, or to which the user has permission. This is in accordance with the company’s terms of use. “By unlocking the wireless internet and making open networks easily accessible we believe more laptop users will be able to use Wifi effectively”, said a company spokesman.

Based on the immense interest in the product, YouNeverCall plans a version of TGB for Windows Mobile Cellular as well Mac OS.

About YouNeverCall
YouNeverCall was launched in 2003 to provide great wireless communication solutions with ‘extreme customer service’. At nearly 500,000 monthly visitors, YouNeverCall’s online cell phone stores offer over 150 models of the latest cell phones and cell phone plans for AT&T (Cingular), Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile, Sprint and Nextel. YouNeverCall also offers cell phone shopping assistance around the clock via phone. To experience YouNeverCall for yourself, visit to http://www.younevercall.com

Local investors to run Philadelphia Wi-Fi network

June 18th, 2008

A group of local investors said Tuesday they have bought Philadelphia’s wireless Internet network, a week after EarthLink Inc. gave up on the system because it failed to make a profit.

The investors said they plan to form a for-profit company that will provide businesses both wired, high-speed Internet access and wireless service. They also plan to maintain the citywide wireless network Earthlink Inc. built for $17 million and offer wireless service free to consumers.

EarthLink has pulled out of several markets, including New Orleans and San Francisco, because it couldn’t make money from Wi-Fi networks it was building.

And on Friday, MetroFi plans to pull the plug on a free, ad-supported Internet service in Portland, Ore. As had been the case in Philadelphia, neither the city nor any private company has stepped in to buy Portland’s network.

Earthlink’s service didn’t attract enough customers in Philadelphia to be financially viable because of connection problems, poor customer service and prices that weren’t much cheaper than competitive DSL services.

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Sony Ericsson launches mammoth 8 megapixel Cyber-shot phone

June 17th, 2008

5 megapixel may have been the specs to look for over the Christmas period, but if you’re in the market for a new phone today, Sony Ericsson has just raised the bar. Their latest Cyber-shot, the C905, packs in 8 megapixels. Overkill? Perhaps.

Of the 5 megapixel camera phones we’ve seen so far, none have truly made the digital camera obsolete, mainly due to the zooming functionality, shutter lag and overall usability. However, Sony Ericsson is packing in a Xenon flash, face detection, image stabiliser and a 16x digital zoom. There’s also geo-tagging of your photos and easy picture blogging.

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Breaking Phone-Call Encryption

June 17th, 2008

A technique for saving bandwidth in Internet phone calls could undermine their security, according to research recently presented at the IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy. Johns Hopkins University researchers showed that, in encrypted phone calls using a certain combination of technologies, preselected phrases can be spotted up to 50 percent of the time on average, and up to 90 percent of the time under optimal conditions.

Voice-over-Internet-protocol (VoIP) phone calls, in which a computer converts a voice signal into data packets and sends them over the Internet, are increasingly popular for personal and business communication. Although most VoIP systems don’t yet use encryption, says Jason Ostrom, director of the VoIP-exploitation research lab at Sipera Systems, it’s absolutely necessary, particularly for business users. In many cases, security measures aren’t in place because companies haven’t realized how vulnerable VoIP can be, he says. He cites an assessment that he did for a hotel that uses VoIP phones, in which he showed that an attacker could access and record guests’ calls using a laptop plugged into a standard wall connection. The Johns Hopkins researchers hope that pointing out possible holes in voice encryption systems can help ensure their security when they become more commonplace.

The Johns Hopkins attack takes advantage of a compression technique called variable-bit-rate encoding, which is sometimes used to save bandwidth in VoIP calls, explains Charles Wright, lead author of the paper. (Wright, who recently received his PhD from Johns Hopkins, will join the technical staff at the MIT Lincoln Laboratory in August.) Variable-bit-rate encoding, Wright says, adjusts the size of data packets being sent over the Internet based on how much information they actually contain. For example, when the person on one end of a VoIP call is listening rather than speaking, the packets sent from that person’s computer shrink significantly. Also, packets containing certain sounds, such as “s” or “f,” can take up less space than those containing more-complex sounds, such as vowels.

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Vocalocity Helps Small Companies Slash Monthly Phone Bills to Cope With Difficult Economic Times

June 10th, 2008

Economic uncertainty dominates conversations and headlines as gasoline costs skyrocket, housing foreclosures increase monthly and the dollar no longer stretches as far as it did last year at the grocery store. However, Vocalocity continues to provide businesses, which operate offices with less than 20 people, a cost-effective way to address their critical communication needs.

Unlike the costly traditional phone services which many companies still rely upon to conduct business, Vocalocity’s Internet phone solution (hosted VoIP solution) instantly allows these entities to slice their monthly phone bill by as much as 80 percent. And while seeking ways to operate more efficiently often means having to do more with less, this is anything but the case for companies which turn to Vocalocity.

Small businesses who use Internet phone service from Vocalocity get everything and more than what they previously had including features such as auto-attendant, voicemail to e-mail, follow me roaming, music on hold, simultaneous ring, conference calling and call queuing. Vocalocity’s fixed rate service also means there are never any surprises when the phone bill arrives or as phone usage fluctuates through times of increased or seasonal call volume.

Businesses which turn to Vocalocity don’t have to worry about installing expensive or complex equipment often associated with such a sophisticated offering. Companies only need to purchase full-feature Internet phones — for around $150 — which are literally ready to use once they are plugged in and connected to the Internet. The initial investment for comparable systems may cost three times as much and require businesses to install complex equipment which is often expensive to maintain.

Internet phone service also allows businesses to cut costs in other ways in the face of today’s challenging economy. Through Vocalocity’s service, companies can easily address rising operating costs by allowing employees to work from home. There’s no longer a need, for instance, to lease expensive office space to house a call center to give a company a distinctive corporate office. Instead, employees with an Internet connection may easily work from their residence while the company still appears to function from a single location and phone number through a unified communication system which provides a professional image and makes it easy for customers to reach their desired parties.

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Consumer Smarts: Dispute puzzling charges on your cell phone bill

June 10th, 2008

EVER NOTICE a mysterious charge on your cell phone bill for ringtones, premium text messaging or other mobile content you didn’t authorize?

Last week, AT&T Mobility announced it would settle a group of class-action lawsuits and refund consumers who were billed for unauthorized third-party mobile content, such as text messaging, daily horoscopes and wallpapers.

Like many cellular companies, AT&T doesn’t provide the content but bills its customers on behalf of third-party vendors.

Consumers nationwide have been fighting back against such “cramming” and have filed multiple lawsuits against the nation’s major cell phone carriers and third-party mobile vendors over charges placed on their phone bills that they didn’t sign up for.

Q: What should I do if I get charged for content I didn’t authorize?

A: Review your phone bill carefully each month. Dispute any charge that you did not authorize, even small ones for $3 or $10. Contact the third-party vendor or your cell phone company and ask them to remove the charges.

Sue Macomber, with the Utilities Consumers Action Network, a nonprofit group in San Diego, advises consumers write a letter to the cell phone company so the complaint is officially logged. Send your letter by certified mail and request a return receipt, Macomber said, and include in your letter a deadline for when you expect a written reply or for the charges to be dropped.

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JetBlue Buys Verizon’s Airfone for In-Flight Messaging Push

June 10th, 2008

Signaling JetBlue Airways’ belief that travelers want to stay connected at all times, its LiveTV unit has agreed to buy Verizon’s Airfone business, a move that will enable the discount carrier to offer a bundle of communications services during flight.

A JetBlue LiveTV spokesperson who asked not to be named told the E-Commerce Times that a deal has been reached, but did not provide details, such as the transaction price.

The Wall Street Journal first reported the sale on Monday, saying the transaction will give LiveTV control of 100 air-to-ground towers owned by Airfone a well as its existing stable of private and government aviation clients.

The handover is not expected to be completed until Jan. 1, 2009.

Because LiveTV provides services to other airlines as well as JetBlue, the move could accelerate the trend toward bringing a range of communications tools to airline travelers.

JetBlue has already staked an early claim to leadership in the in-flight messaging arena, recently outfitting one of its planes with a WiFi network — through a partnership with BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM) and Yahoo (Nasdaq: YHOO) — that will enable users to send and receive e-mail and instant messages while on board.

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Apple iPhone 3G To Be Faster and Smarter and Cheaper

June 10th, 2008

On Monday Apple Inc. unveiled their new Apple iPhone which will start at $199 for the 8GB model. They are also offering a 16GB model for $299. The phones, which will be available on July 11th, will be lightening fast with 3G wireless technology.

The goal is to woo the business Blackberry users away from their phones. The iPhone will include GPS mapping and support for Microsoft Exchange. Apple is combining three products in one. The iPhone will include a widescreen iPod, a web browser and email reader with rich HTML.

The company says you can still watch a video, even when you are on the phone. The iPhone will be faster than their first offering. They compared the download of lonelyplanet.com with both of their phones. It took 48 seconds with their current iPhone but only 20 seconds with their new 3G technology.

The company claims that the phone meets standards all over the world. You can make calls from virtually anywhere, but don’t count on the high speed Internet access everywhere.

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