Freshtel aims to extend VoIP service

Nokia E51 side
WiFi enabled phones could be the portal to cheaper calls

Freshtel, the Australia-based internet phone provider, claims it is in talks with network carriers and mobile handset manufacturers to extend its VoIP service.

The company has just launched a mobile-integrated VoIP trial in the UK in partnership with Tesco, offering seamless use with internet-enabled mobiles.

A source at the company says it is in talks to offer the service under other carrier branding in Europe and the Asia Pacific regions, where it already has an infrastructure presence and sees a dense customer base.

Under the branded service, it could potentially see a phone locked to the Three network using a Vodafone-branded VoIP service, though no specific companies have been touted as yet.

Keep your number

Freshtel says its VoIP service trial, which currently is only available on four Nokia handsets, the N95, the E65, E51 and N81 thanks to Symbian 60 functionality, is the simplest in the market, as it uses the customers existing number.

The trial was certainly easy to set up, using a SMS to request the application download and integrating with the users SMS inbox and phonebook with no set up.

When connected to WiFi, the service offers the normal free calls and texts between online users. However, it also gives verbal and on-screen confirmation if the service is free when the phone book is uses in a normal way.

Whether consumers are sufficiently interested in VoIP to test this service remains to be seen, but if big-name branding comes in then the marketing push might be enough, especially if WiFi enabled handsets become more ubiquitous in the market.

Gareth Beavis
Formerly Global Editor in Chief

Gareth has been part of the consumer technology world in a career spanning three decades. He started life as a staff writer on the fledgling TechRadar, and has grown with the site (primarily as phones, tablets and wearables editor) until becoming Global Editor in Chief in 2018. Gareth has written over 4,000 articles for TechRadar, has contributed expert insight to a number of other publications, chaired panels on zeitgeist technologies, presented at the Gadget Show Live as well as representing the brand on TV and radio for multiple channels including Sky, BBC, ITV and Al-Jazeera. Passionate about fitness, he can bore anyone rigid about stress management, sleep tracking, heart rate variance as well as bemoaning something about the latest iPhone, Galaxy or OLED TV.