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Communications Hardware

SkyQube Squared Shakes Up International Calling 59

Posted by kdawson
from the forward-for-pennies dept.
Max Matakino writes "CNet.co.uk has stumbled across a very interesting box indeed out at CeBIT: 'The SkyQube Squared from Qool Labs is a VoIP gateway that enables you to forward calls and messages made to your mobile phone or landline via SkypeOut to another number anywhere in the world.' This means that if you receive a call to your house phone while you're in China, you can get it forwarded to a Chinese cell phone or telephone for the relatively very cheap price of a SkypeOut call. I'm guessing wireless carriers aren't going to be happy about this one."
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SkyQube Squared Shakes Up International Calling

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  • by jeff_schiller (877821) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @12:46PM (#18364025) Homepage
    You should also check out http://www.latenightpc.com/blog/archives/category/ asterisk/ [latenightpc.com] for a couple of tips on how to set up an Asterisk box with VOIP gateway...
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by antarctican (301636)
      Yup, that is definitely an option and the one I use. In a slightly modified way.

      I can voip in to my home machine from anywhere then bounce the call out my home phone line which I have a very good long distance package on (cable company provided voip actually...). This effectively lets me access the local telephone network plus make long distance calls from anywhere I have an internet connection.

      Technology is wonderful.
      • by mikiN (75494)
        I hope you factored energy bills and replacement parts (failing hard drives, failing processor and PSU fans causing a cascade of other failures) into your cost estimate. Considering these costs made me stay away from your solution for the moment (until I find time and money to build a low-power, preferrably diskless Asterisk box).
    • by markus (2264)
      If you install chan_cellphone.so [digium.com], and you have one of the supported Bluetooth cell phones, you might even be able to build your own GSM to PSTN gateway. No need to buy expensive hardware, or to tie yourself to Skype.
    • Yes indeed, Asterisk FTW.

      While Skype is popular (I occasionally use it on my mobile phone), its proprietary model is annoying and limiting. Here in AU, voip is really starting to take off, and it's all based on SIP, the official standard for this sort of thing. From my normal home phone, I can make free calls to Asterisk setups or any other SIP client, including friends & family's voip phones, and PCs running Windows Messenger, Jabber or GTalk (via gateways if necessary). I can call overseas to any fi

      • In any case, the redirection might not save any money, depending on the way your phone billing system works.

        My wife and I both have mobile phones on the same account. We often call each other when one is overseas. The cost of the outgoing side of the call can be very cheap with any given VOIP solution, but the mobile phone that is away from home (Australia in my case) gets slugged with a massive charge from Vodafone to receive the call.
  • Definitely cool (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ByteMePlenty (1076187)
    I have a colleague in Chennai who picked up each and every call from his girlfriend to his Chennai mobile - "when he was in San Jose, CA". The bill was $8000/-. The company paid the bill but wtf If he didnt know about international roaming charges, I bet he wouldnt have heard about this beauty either. ByteMePlenty
  • If your goal is cheap international calling (mobile or otherwise), one thing Vonage can do is forward calls from your number to any other number by simultaneously ringing your Vonage phone and the other number. Another thing you can do is bring your Vonage router with you when you go to another country, say China. As long as you have a high-speed Internet connection, it'll work and calls to your home phone number are just like you were at home. Combine the two features -- get a cheap, throw away Chinese c
    • Last time I looked into this Vonage would not forward to international numbers. If this has changed then this is awesome. They also need to allow you to forward txt messages and I will be super happy.
    • by mikiN (75494)
      I doubt that the GFC* will just pass-thru VoIP to some random internet-enabled hotel room or wireless hotspot without some currency changing hands...

      *) Great Firewall of China
  • "I'm guessing wireless carriers aren't going to be happy about this one."

    It really won't make a difference. When you forward a call from a mobile you're still using your airtime so your provider gets what they want. Overseas roaming charges originate from the expensive roaming agreements with the overseas provider, not from your carrier. It's the provider in Thailand or where ever whose network you're using that charges your carrier for the usage.

    Cool product, btw.
    • I agree with you, except for one thing:

      Most cell-phone companies are extremely protective of anything they seem to think is theirs (phones they sell you, SIM cards, etc). They will be unhappy if you get it to work.

      The problem that arises is most cell-providers use a white-list of ESNs. For example, if you move your SIM card from a Verizon phone to an unbranded, direct-from-manufacturer phone, your will get rejected of service because the ESN isn't in that whitelist.
      • by hab136 (30884)

        The problem that arises is most cell-providers use a white-list of ESNs. For example, if you move your SIM card from a Verizon phone to an unbranded, direct-from-manufacturer phone, your will get rejected of service because the ESN isn't in that whitelist.

        I did exactly that with my Cingular phone. Signed up for new service, used the SIM in my el crappo free phone just to test it, then moved the SIM to my unlocked RAZR (that I bought in Eastern Europe, no less). No problems. I've since used the SIM in oth

        • Actually I think you're right. It's been quite a few years since I really looked into it. Thanks :)

          But even so, according to the article you pop your SIM card into the SkyQube to get it working. That being the case, seems Verizon customers are SOL anyways.
      • by zoftie (195518)
        "The problem that arises is most cell-providers use a white-list of ESNs. For example, if you move your SIM card from a Verizon phone to an unbranded, direct-from-manufacturer phone, your will get rejected of service because the ESN isn't in that whitelist."

        Not sure where you live, but in Canada, here if you get unlocked phone, all you have to do is just pop in the sim card and way you go.
      • The problem that arises is most cell-providers use a white-list of ESNs. For example, if you move your SIM card from a Verizon phone to an unbranded, direct-from-manufacturer phone, your will get rejected of service because the ESN isn't in that whitelist.

        I don't know about Verizon, but I've only ever used Cingular with cheap phones purchased in Asia. No problems at all.

      • by AK Marc (707885)
        The problem that arises is most cell-providers use a white-list of ESNs.

        My understanding is that is illegal. AT&T tried that years ago. They claimed that any phone on the phone system not owned by AT&T could break it. They lost some court cases over it, and now you can not be prevented from putting anything you want on any network, as long as they can't show it causes harm. From my understanding, this includes wireless networks. That's why they lock down the handsets they sell to not work on
    • It really won't make a difference. When you forward a call from a mobile you're still using your airtime so your provider gets what they want. Overseas roaming charges originate from the expensive roaming agreements with the overseas provider, not from your carrier.

      Have you noticed that the overseas provider is also a wireless carrier? So yes, wireless carriers are going to hate this.

      To look at it the other way, when someone from this overseas provider is in my country, my provider in turn charges their pr
  • Skype? (Score:1, Informative)

    by syrrys (738867)
    I remember when my cousin from Central America visited me in the States. He installed Skype on my PC while I was at work. When I discovered this I began getting stomach pains. I didn't want to make him feel bad so I let him tell me how great Skype is and how he uses it for personal and business needs. He said everyone he knows uses it it Latin America. That scared me. Mainly because I know from experience what Skype can do to my PC and even after I have "uninstalled" it, (Time to clean the Reg). BTW,
    • Hear hear! I don't know what all the sHype is about.
    • Just use the U3 version of Skype. No install, runs off your flash drive, and you can turn it off when you like :)

      'course you have to have a U3 drive, but they're easy to come by and extremely useful...
    • by zoftie (195518)
      On a mac it is matter of copying file into applications folder, and if you want to, deleting it. it is not fault of skype that things on windows are so messed up. Developers are used to this way of coding, so it goes like that, on and on.
      Still wating for video on linux version of skype.
      2c
  • by OlivierB (709839) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @01:20PM (#18364627)
    If you're going to do a slashvedrtisement, especially one as obvious as this (nothing really new and exciting, has been done a million times by people with a PBX or any normal phone who can fwd their calls to their skypeIn number who in turm forwards to your PAYG throwawy SIM card.).

    The right title should have been "SkyQube Squared shakes Up International Roaming charges".

    This article was especially poor in substance and novelty.

    And don't expect to see this thing explode the sales chart. It'll most probabl be +200 dollars given that it has GSM radio.
    Geeks only. 2000 units shipped tops. 800 will be sold and we'll all call it a day.
    • Here here.

      What makes matters worse is they are married to skype/ebay.

      They've already flushed a couple of suitcases of cash down the toilet, I'm not sure why they didn't just colo some voip servers in specific markets they were targeting. At this point VOIP servers and POTS bridges are not rocket science. From there a simple bridge to the customers skype account and you are done.
    • by emurphy42 (631808)

      Answer truthfully (yes or no) to the following question: Will the next word you say be no?
      Yes or no.
    • by AK Marc (707885)
      nothing really new and exciting, has been done a million times by people with a PBX or any normal phone who can fwd their calls to their skypeIn number who in turn forwards to your PAYG throwawy SIM card.

      The closest to it is having your local cell forward to another that is a skypeIn or Vonage or land-line and have that processed by a computer and sent via VoIP to some other country. However, doing it that way, at least with my provider, uses double minutes (there are two calls in a forward, one to the h
  • Sorry folks, but for my time and money, I want total client/server control. So I'll go to Nerd Vittles [nerdvittles.com] and download myself a Trixbox (in a CentOS VMware image). It'll do it all, and the docs there are great, including how to migrate to real hardware should you want.

    For SIP (etc.) clients, I'll take a Nokia N95 please, which is a fancier version than the nearly 1.5 year old Nokia N80i, but with better specs.: DVD video plus GPS/maps. (Otherwise, the N80i, for about 375 euros) will connect you via 802.11 to

  • How long until your home broadband connection can be a local relay for you to call or get a call from anywhere on your cell/home for the cost of a local/skypeout call?
  • "Relatively very cheap price." Is that kind of like "Almost sometimes always a cheap price"?
  • It looks like a nice plug-n-play setup (how many people are *really* going to figure out how to install and run something as complex as asterisk for this?), but what do their marketing people think they're doing? Not that they're any different from most, but I go to their site and they say "look at all the cool things we have" (spelled in a "witty" way, of course!). Do they have any information at all on how to actually *buy* one of their cool products? Not a peep. Are they doing PR or trying to sell a
  • Let's not forget Xcelis who plays in this space, too, with the PC-VOIP. Drop in a SIM card linked to an add-on line on your cellular plan. Hook up a phone wire to your VOIP TA, and the gateway will now route calls bidirectionally between your cellphone and the VOIP always using mobile-to-mobile and (hopefully) unlimited VOIP minutes. Supports speed dial, registered users, remote configuration using DTMF, and configurable inbound forwarding.

    $350 + $10/mo on Cingular, for indicative pricing. Three years payba

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