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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

HowTo: Use 2 VoIP providers simultaneously on N95(plus skype, all at once)

The N95 has a built-in hardware(?) accelerated SIP stack. yes yes, you've heard that before. it's used by Truphone, Vyke, Gizmo.... any VoIP service provider you can think of... except Fring.

I have my N95 setup to connect to Fring using EDGE and WiFi when available. I also have truphone connecting via wifi simultaneously. it's easy, just open truphone and goto:

Options->Settings->Internet Calls->Port

change this (by clicking on it once) from the default (5062) to (5060).
now truphone will connect via an alternate port - and it will not conflict with Fring when it is configured for SIP (fring doesn't let you set the port)

Now, open fring and choose Options->Settings->Manage Communities
Subscribe to whatever you'd like to use, for VoIP (ie: calling POTS phones from your network connection) only Skype and SIP are of interest.

really, i'm biased against Skype, but plenty of people are glad they have it i suppose. i prefer open standards.
but anyways: onwards not upwards, and always twirling! twirling towards freedom! (name the tv show i quoted and i'll buy you ingredients to brew your own beer)

so, subscribe to a SIP provider (may i suggest Gizmo?) and Skype (if you really must).
connect via GPRS/EDGE/WIFI and when it asks answer, "Yes, i'd love to use this connection in the future".

there you have it - your N95 will now ring when any of GSM, Truphone, Gizmo, Skype are called. yup. if all 4 are called at once you should really splurge and get an executive assistant. really, i dont know how the phone will handle it. but individually they all work: you can call out from GSM, Truphone, Gizmo or Skype -- all using whatever tariffs they each charge, all from one phone, all without the service provider even caring that you're using your mobile to place the call (well, i suppose the GSM is an exception there... and maybe the GSM provider would hate you for using the other services).


now WHY ON EARTH would you want this?
let me answer it simply:
you could go for a DATA ONLY MOBILE PLAN.

AT&T sells this for $35/month. i currently pay $40 + $15 for internet on AT&T. thats $55/mo for internet (necessity) then another $40 for 600 minutes (my plan is older and cheaper than current plans). so, essentially i get 600 minutes for $55
thats: 55/600 = about $0.092/minute (text msg plan is extra from either provider).

but, if i connected via the internet i'd only pay for outbound calls, and then only $0.019/min (gizmo), $0.021/min (skype), or $0.06/min (truphone). of course one service is cheaper than the other for certain features, and truphone even has SMS-over-IP.

now, if i'm paying just $35, and i make (not receive) 1052 minutes of calls over gizmo, i've paid the same price as i was paying before for only 600 minutes (most AT&T users pay that much for 450 minutes).

so, i COULD pay as little as $35 if i make NO CALLS, but receive as many calls as i like. interesting... what if i placed my calls through the MOST EXPENSIVE of the VOIPs i listed?

i've got $20 of spending just to catch up to my current bill, that'd be 333 minutes of OUTBOUND calls. if half of my minutes are outbound (and not to 800 numbers) then i still get about 600 minutes, but now the months i use less i actually PAY LESS.

great, so what do i save?

max savings = $20/mo. over a year thats $240. lets assume we only save 1/2 of the max - just for giggles. thats still $120/yr. every 20 months you'd have yourself $200 towards the next shiny, fantastic N-series phone you want.

yay math!

but seriously, if you are like me then most of your calls are inbound anyways. so the savings is fantastic.

the cheapest family plan i can see LJ and me using would consist of:
$60 - 550 plan
$10 - addt'n line
$5 - sms option line 1
$5 - sms option line 2
$15 - unlimited internet
-----
$95/mo for 2 users, only 1 with internet
$110/mo for 2 with internet

we both pay $60 now, plus made up fees and taxes, so we'd only save $10 to $25/mo for switching.
but she doesnt use internet now, so even if its just $10/mo savings, we're getting more out of it.

at the $95 rate i've got $25 of minutes to burn before i reach the break-even point. even with truphone thats 416 minutes.
at the $110 rate, that'd only be 166 minutes.
with gizmo those numbers jump by about 3x to: 1315 and 526 respectively.
and dont forget that inbound voip incurs no charges - yay - so those minute counts increase more than that (with truphone forwarding to my mobile for free, gizmo charging for it if i use that feature)

so today we pay $120/mo for a total of 1200 minutes,
we could play $95/mo for 550, using up to 1315 more without paying beyond our current rate
or pay $110/mo for 550, using up to 526 more without paying beyond the current rate.

if we take the worst of what i described above, we've got 550+526=1076 minutes. thats almost EXACTLY what we have now, without taking into account the free inbound calls over voip.

whats the catch? we need to know when to place calls out via voip, and when to call out via GSM. whats the saviour? if we call out over voip ALL THE TIME for a few months, we'll save up GMS minutes, and we can use only gsm for the next few months. this way we dont have to check several times a month, every month. just pay for voip for a while and collect rollover minutes, then use them up. simple.

and, BREAK.

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