WiFi phones ready for prime time

Although old news to tech savvy early adopters, the consumers with the latest gadgets, it is becoming increasingly clear that WiFi phones have not only arrived but, thanks to bold moves by manufacturers, are ready for prime time. So what exactly is prime time and moreover, why should you care?

In a nutshell, prime time is when the true power of a connectivity technology is not only made available but readily usable. A connectivity technology is usable when there are no restrictions placed on its use to protect the interests of phone service providers (e.g. Vodacom, MTN, Cell-C). The traditional main interest of phone service providers is naturally voice revenue, and since one can make phone calls via private WiFi networks, this revenue stream is no longer as protected as it used to be. Phone service providers might have tried to use their influence on phone manufacturers to restrict the use of WiFi to data applications only. This has not happened. The fact that you have the power to use your mobile phone to make calls on a WiFi network, such as the one you might find in your home, corporation or hotspot, is why you should care. You have the freedom to do whatever you want to do with your device. Thats right, freedom, think Braveheart. If that was too technical an explanation, just remember this, you can make much cheaper phone calls from your cell phone.

While WiFi phones are ready for prime time, current models are “tailored for business”, i.e. expensive. WiFi is generally being offered on smartphones, these are phones that come with their own operating system such as Windows or Symbian, essentially micro-PCs. With WiFi phones being expensive they are out of reach for the average consumer, however once the target market moves from the business user to the main stream consumer one may see call prices dropping significantly as phone service providers respond to their revenue stream being increasingly threatened.

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