In this week’s Digital Life, I ran a story about how VOIP services like pfingo, Skype and mediaring are now moving to the mobile phone. The value proposition is simple – you can pay two to four cents per minute to make calls from your mobile phone in Singapore to any mobile or landline number here. Compared to the 15 cents per minute we are paying, it’s pretty amazing.
The stumbling block used to be the high cost of data charges because you are essentially logging into the 3G/3.5G mobile Internet (which works out to be about 40-50 cents per minute – that’s because the bit rate is about 16kbps so when you talk for a minute that means you will be using like 16 x 60 divided by 8 which gives you 120 KB. Since the rate is about .35 cents per KB of data, you end up paying 40-50 cents per minute of VOIP talk time.
But now, with unlimited 3G plans going for like $19 and StarHub bundling their 3G and cable broadband together, mobile data access is now affordable.
I have been using pfingo a lot recently, which gives me a prefix-3 number for free. So I can call from my mobile using pfingo, and the experience is just like making a normal mobile call. Instead of pressing the green call button I press options then Internet call. I can even open my normal phone book and do the same thing to call a contact. No fuss like Skype where you have to crack your head to import contacts over.
Iam paying like $100 to $120 per month to my mobile operator for my phone bill. With these VOIP mobile services I can seriously cut my phone bill. The problem is I think you can’t port your mobile number to a VOIP mobile service. When that happens, you can be sure I will make the switch.