Now this Roaming Price Gouging beats all!

Well on the subject of Cellcom Israel, I must mention a new service that they introduced with a price that needs Israeli Hutzpa to set.

The service is for international travelers and works like this. Cellcom provides you with a USB dongle with a slot for your local Israeli SIM. When you roam, you plug the dongle into your laptop, plug the laptop into a local internet connection in the country and then you can make a call using a softphone that Cellcom supplies you over the internet.

The call travels over the internet to Cellcom servers in Israel and then goes out over their GSM network using the ID of your SIM as if you were in Israel. Not a bad idea, since you can now make local calls in Israel as if you were there.

HERE IS THE CATCH – Cellcom charges you approx 75 cents a minute to make the call! Compare that with 10 cents, using a regular softphone on your laptop when traveling and compare that with the almost ZERO cost that Cellcom has to provide this service (leg 1 is on the internet, leg 2 is on the Cellcom network). SHOCKING. Like why I not use a regular SIP softphone or Skype instead and pay 10-12 cents? Maybe Cellcom assumes that there are enough stupid (excuse the term) out there, who won’t realize that they are being taken for a ride??

The service which I assume is based on the Skuku solution was built by a local Israeli company. Great idea, bad pricing.

A softphone is a softphone is a softphone. Why pay 600% more to use the Cellcom one?

Mobile Cellular Routers enter mainstream (Cellcom Israel)

Cellcom Israel (one of the 3 mobile carriers in Israel with 3 million phones), announced that they would start marketing a cellular router to the retail market. The router (besides regular Wifi capabilities) will have a FXS connection so you can connect a regular POTS phone to it and call out on the Cellcom 052 network.

Their price (approx. $22) is competitive when you take into account that you do not have to pay (as is common in Israel) a separate payment to the infrastructure provider such as ADSL, since they are both the infrastructure and the ISP.

Now lets see what you can do it… simple things come to mind like …
– temporary internet for events
– internet everywhere for roadrunners
– instant setup for demos
– VoIP Everywhere

The more exciting part is what you can do in the car. Plug in the router to your cigarette lighter and the whole family can surf. Hmmm, no more “Daddy when will we arrive, Daddy he hit me” stuff. Not bad.

Ebay opens Skype to the world of SIP

Well not exactly…. After waiting for a few years, Michael Robertson has built an interface to Skype based on SIP. Any Skype user can be reached by calling SkypeName@opensky.gizmo5.com.

Not only that, Michael has built a business model that enables PBX owners to buy multiple channels at a low annual price of about $15 a channel and route calls to Skype the same as any other SIP address.

With one swoop Michael sorta of runs rings around Digium who announced awhile ago with much fanfare a Asterisk to Skype solution, but has yet to commercially deploy it. As usual when Michael Robertson does something he does it in a big way!

Live from ITEXPO

ITEXPO opened a few hours ago in Miami. As in any trade show the most exciting part is meeting up with old friends and catching up on their new ventures…

In the first 3 hours, I ran into Andy Abramson, Ari Rabban, Rich Tehrani, Alex from Voipswitch, and many more. Jon Arnold was nice enough to invite me to participate in a panel on considerations when starting a ITSP, which was fun view website.

My most interesting meeting and that which probably warrants a separate post — was with Erik Lagerway and his partner and Trent Johnsen from SMB Phone - the distributor of Microsoft Response Point in Canada. Erik once an innovative Asterisk developer is now firmly in the MSFT camp! According to him, MS RP is the best IP PBX for small business, bar none.

I definitely look forward to learning more about the Microsoft offering, after all it is not every day that someone like Erik defects from the Asterisk camp!