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Talk Is Cheap by James E Gaskin

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Wi-Fi Internet Phones

One day, someone asked an interesting question: why do I have to leave my broadband phone calling advantages at home? Why can’t I take them with me to the coffee shop?

Now you can. Several vendor phones let you dial to your broadband phone account through any public Wi-Fi network. When you reach a hotspot, the Wi-Fi phone connects to the wireless network and reaches your phone provider to initiate your calls.

Skype USB adapter with extra features

Figure 9-3. Skype USB adapter with extra features

Look for broadband phone service providers to private-label these and “customize” the phone to their network. While that means easier setup, it also almost certainly means the phone will be locked so you can only use it with that one broadband service provider. Yes, that’s what your cell phone service provider did to your cell phone, too.

First-generation Wi-Fi phones took quite a while to configure and get working through one of the few providers available. If these phones are going to attract a huge audience, they must be easier to configure and start using. This may be the impetus to lock Wi-Fi phones to providers, just to sweeten that “Out of the Box” experience and help people start using their phone quickly.

Dual-mode cell/broadband phones are on their way as well, letting you choose between a broadband phone service and your cell phone service. The idea of going over your cell phone minutes may disappear ...

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