Turn Your Cell into a VoIP Phone. LAPTOP did a thorough test of 4 services taking various approaches to mobile VoIP and instant messaging.
Talkster received high marks for voice quality and ease of use. Given the relatively small feature set of our beta service (which is just a preview to our upcoming Enterprise service) we were more than happy with how we stacked up.
There was one piece of information in the article that we believe was a bit misleading and warrants further discussion here. It was mentioned that all of the services reviewed (including Talkster) require a mobile broadband connection (3G, wi-fi etc.). This may be true of the other services, but with Talkster it is exactly the opposite.
We specifically designed Talkster NOT to require broadband or unlimited mobile data plans. The Talkster service uses a very small amount of data to get updated information about your instant messenger buddy list (if their status changes) and, when making a call, an even smaller amount of data to set up the call through the Talkster network. Once you are talking on the high quality voice call (thanks for the props Laptop Magazine!) it’s just your regular cellular voice channel that is being used.
Routing the call through the Talkster VoIP network means that you connect at a local point, we carry the call over our managed network, and when it reaches the other end we connect it through a local gateway to the phone you are calling or in the case of calling your Instant Messenger buddies through VoIP all the way to their PC.
There is a misperception that calls over data networks are free. There can be a difference in cost, but you still pay for a connection to a 3G network (your mobile carrier charges you for a data bundle). In the case of using Wi-Fi, you can find free Wi-Fi hotspots but it doesn’t help you when you are on the move as Wi-Fi hotspots cover a very small area and there is no seamless handover from one to another that would allow your voice call to continue.
Regardless, unless you are on a managed Wi-Fi connection that prioritizes VoIP traffic you can experience, as was highlighted in the article, “choppy connections”, “delays” and “poor voice quality”. For consumers looking for just a cheap call this might be overlooked. For business users looking for clear, cost effective voice connections to their colleagues and customers, the networks and technologies need to evolve before they are mainstream in the mobile world.
We at Talkster support the idea that mobile VoIP will take advantage of mobile data networks when they are available. We are investing time, money and thought into making it ready for prime time, while at the same time offering a service that meets the needs of users today with networks and devices they already have access to.