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Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Mobile VoIP - part 2 (was truphone in USA)

this is a learning process.

i WAS under the impression that inbound calls to my truphone #, when forwarded to my GSM, would be charged for by both my GMS carrier and by truphone.

quite simply, I WAS WRONG. truphone charges nothing for this forwarding feature. so - if i can get everyone to call my truphone number instead of my gsm number, then a good portion of my inbound calls will be free.

zip. zero. nadda.

only pay for inbound when it's forwarded to the gsm - and then it only eats away at the included gsm minutes in the monthly service plan.

ok - thats a good start.
now if i could just get everyone to call my truphone number. whats stopping them? here's the list:

1. the area code is in WASHINGTON STATE. this makes it a long distance call for landline users, and non-intuitive for anyone who tries to simply remember my number.

2. SMS doesnt work. right - so if i get mom to use my truphone number when she calls me, she has to keep my regular gsm number anyways so that she can SMS me too. that means she's got both in her address book. i dont know how tech savvy your mom is, but mine's likely to just call the one in the normal area code. and given that i'll answer it, i'll reinforce the idea that this is the proper way to call me.

3. caller id. i call someone, the call is logged in their phone. hours, days, weeks later they want to call me - do they type my number in? nope. do they lookup my number in the phone? maybe. do they hit the green button and scroll to my name? almost certainly. this seems to be the modus operandi of most mobile users (at least in the states): use the call history to make new calls. brings new meaning to the phrase, "History repeats itself".

so how do we work around these issues?

1. AREA CODE: well, i could use Grandcentral - but truphone doesnt work well with DTMF tones, and grandcentral requires that i press '1' to 'accept' every call. i think i have to wait for truphone to fix DTMF or Grandcentral to allow me to accept calls without pressing any buttons.

2. SMS: well, if i use grandcentral, i'll have to hope for GC to enable SMS forwarding regardless of what truphone does. but i dont use GC, then i just have to wait for SMS through truphone to function. either way its just a waiting game.

3. the only thing i can think of is to block my caller id from going out. sure, you'll never know that its me calling (does that mean you'll answer the call more, or less, often?) but at least you'll be forced to pick my name from your phone book everytime, rather than your call history.

and of course, calling out via gizmo rather than truphone, is still an option on the table. that would mean:

1. 775-xxx-xxxx number on your caller id when i call you (or 747-xxx-xxxx, depends on how gizmo is working that day)
2. 413-xxx-xxxx number for SMS messages
3. 425-xxx-xxxx number for you to call me

believe it or not, i've had more complex setups than this before. but they failed. i just couldn't get everyone on board.

maybe i could setup my phone to only ring when the call originates from truphone - either from forwarding, or via voip. this way if you call the wrong number you only get my voicemail. i could allow just people within my "free" networking to get straight through to my phone.

it's not such a bad idea - there are plenty of BlackList type apps for my phone. i just wonder if they can reliably differentiate between truphone sourced calls and others.

i'll answer this question in part 3: can we block/filter incoming GSM calls that didn't forward from truphone? if we can, can we also allow mobile from my network to pass through this filter (even if the filter has to be handcrafted)?

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