Thursday, August 03, 2006

More on Google and VoIP using WiFi

Back in August 2005, I posted a speculative piece about how Google Talk and free city-wide internet wireless access (like Google WiFi) could be combined to allow free phone calls:
What if I had a phone that works over WiFi? ... What if there was city-wide WiFi coverage? Or WiFi coverage equivalent to cell phone networks (covering cities and major highways)? [Then] my WiFi phone would work everywhere.

Google just launched Google Talk, a VoIP application. Google is rumored to be thinking about a nationwide free WiFi network. Combined these two, add a WiFi phone to the mix, and am I about to get free mobile calling nationwide?
Since then, there have been some developments around this idea.

First, there are new WiFi phones appearing on the market. These phones sound easy to use and come preloaded with the necessary VoIP software.

Second, the NYT did a report last month on VoIP using WiFi and the potential threat to cellular networks.

Third, Katie Fehrenbacher at Gigom tested using the Google WiFi in Mountain View for making calls.

It is not clear whether VoIP using WiFi will be built out by Google, eBay/Skype, or a startup like Fon, but it is looking very likely to get built by someone.


Anonymous said...

Seems like, for once, you americans are a bit late :-)

In france, two major ISP released massively "boxes" that include that functionnality...

The principle is simple : when you subscribe with them you get a box that provides 20 Megs ADSL, IP TV, VOIP, VOD, Switch, Router, MIMO Wifi... and Wifi phone.

Phones proposed can handle GSM and Wifi communications..

You can connect thru every box, so if you walk in Paris or any major city, you're pretty sure to get a wifi signal and phone for free (or very cheap on mobiles)... Everywherelse you still have GSM.

Anonymous said...

Did I mention it's around 20$/month ?

Greg Linden said...

That sounds fantastic! Is it primarily in France or across the entire EU?

Anonymous said...

not sure if alpha tech plays a part in this

Greg Linden said...

Thanks, Peter. Neat to see that a WiFi phone may be coming out that is specifically designed to work with Google Talk.

Anonymous said...

It specific to France I think. We have a very well developed ADSL network. In fact, there's a once small ISP named Free that's very creative.

They developed that system and others are following.

By the way, they just mailed to inform me that I know have 28 Megs and HD TV, and the price stays the same...

In France, even Aol has an ADSL Box :-)
(check it here :

I just don't understand why we have such an advance in this field. That's quite unusual and mysterious...