It is what us mobile obsessed types dream of – a phone that allows you to make and receive international calls but doesn’t come with the after shock of those horrendous network call charges. Which is why we have been keeping close tabs on the UK firm Rabbit Point. It has developed a mobile phone and supporting technology that works via the web – yes it is a variant on VoIP – which offers free international calls to its subscribers.
Basically to make those cheap calls you need a wireless connection. You can use the phone from your own network, or take advantage of a free hot spot, or even a hot zone like those in Brighton or London’s Canary Wharf . You can’t use it in say a T-Mobile Starbucks hot spot as there is no way of logging in.
The company claims that it is compatible with 3000 sites across the UK and 700 across Europe. Rabbit Point is apparently rolling out its own hot sports which it calls Cell points.
Once you have made a connection free calls to other Rabbit Point users are free and 1.5p per minute to landlines.
In case you were wondering it is different from the UMA technology pioneered by Nokia and others as those harness existing mobile phone networks to make calls.
The inevitable catch though is you need a Rabbit Point phone. It looks ok and is manufactured by UTStarcom, but it is no match for more fashionable/gadget-filled stuff from Nokia etc. Apparently a 3G/Wi-fi combi phone that works with the system is on the horizon too. You also pay £9.99 per month line rental.
It all sounds very interesting, but is the quality any good, and what battery life doe the phone have? Yep the jury is out until I have played with the phones.