Mobile VoIP, Vyke, Truphone, Fonbucks vs. Starbucks and piggybacking

Global businesses have big plans for mobile handsets. That’s according to UK research firm Coleman Parkes Research. Seven out of 10 expect to be using mobile VoIP within two years and many are already a variety of business applications. But with the new flexibility comes a whole new dimension of security and management challenges. Robert Jacques at has the story.

But while businesses see huge benefits to mobile VoIP, mobile carriers have been circling the wagons, blocking mobile VoIP calls and writing restrictive terms into their contracts. Now UK mobile VoIP provider Vyke is fighting back with a standalone software upgrade that circumvents the removal of handset VoIP capabilities by carriers.

“The incumbent mobile network operators must be feeling very threatened by mobile VoIP,” observed Vyke Communications CEO Kjetil Bøhn in today’s press release. “In the short amount of time that this immerging technology has been in the market, they have already responded by removing VoIP capabilities from mobile handsets that they sell and by introducing very restrictive contract terms prohibiting their customers from using their networks to access services such as VoIP and third party peer-to-peer messaging clients. Vyke has been dedicating itself to circumventing these obstructionist tactics by developing our own stand-alone mobile VoIP application as well as providing access to large scale wireless networks on behalf of our customers.”

Even sweeter for customers, Vyke’s agreement last month with WiFi hotspot provider The Cloud Networks gives subscribers free access through any of the Cloud’s 9,500 UK and European hotspots.

Spanish WiFi company Fon says it has given away 7,000 routers to people living next to a Starbucks to encourage them to provide free or cheap Internet access to the ubiquitous café’s customers. Not surprisingly, the program is called Fonbucks. Mark Kapco at RCR Wireless News has the story.

Last week Truphone announced a whole slew of new features including SMS over IP for unlimited free texting, automatic WiFi network connection, and support for multiple SIM cards.

Steve Jobs has a solution for the AT&T’s sluggish Internet connection, which he outlined in a June 29 Wall Street Journal interview: “What we’ve done with the iPhone is we’ve made it so that it will automatically switch to a known Wi-Fi network whenever it finds it. So you don’t have to go hunting around, resetting the phone, flipping a switch or doing anything. Most of us have Wi-Fi networks around us most of the time at home and at work. There’s often times a Wi-Fi network that you can join whether you’re sitting in a coffee shop or even walking along the street piggybacking on somebody’s home Wi-Fi network. What we found is the combination is working really well.”

I particularly like the part about piggybacking on someone else’s home network. Sounds like the wonder boy of Cupertino lives in a separate ethical universe from the rest of us mere mortals. One where it might be OK to, say, share music online without paying iTunes $.99.

Industry disruption specialist Jajah is jumping on the Apple iPhone bandwagon to promote its mobile Jajah service. This isn’t anything new, but it’s certainly timely to remind customers — if they can get the iPhone service connected, of course — that there is an alternative to AT&T’s extortionate rates.