iSkoot is not architected as a "Call Back" service; impact of having a WiFi-enabled Blackberry
New billing features in my Rogers bill can tell you something about how wireless calls accessing Skype are made. Yesterday I received my monthly wireless billing from Rogers who now include, via the callerID, the name of the party called on their call detail report.. Looks like the detail shows that iSkoot is not a "Call Back" service:
The fact that there is a number (rather than simply "Incoming") in the relevant column tells me that iSkoot initiates a call by calling the local iSkoot point-of-presence (647 is a local Toronto call for me) and then, incorporating data concurrently sent to the same server, transparently makes the connection to my called party (whether via Skype or SkypeOut)1. The whole process takes about five to ten seconds. As discussed in more detail last week, the user experience is virtually identical to that of making a traditional wireless call.
It also demonstrates that calls via Skype access services, whether via iSkoot, IM+ for Skype or Mobivox, are still charged against your wireless data plan, in terms of minutes if not actual per minute usage charges.
Also revealed in the bill:
My wireless data plan usage, using a Blackberry 8820 with WiFi, remains somewhat lower than the average usage when I did not have a Blackberry with WiFi. Yet I now use the Blackberry for data services much more heavily in WiFi zones, especially when at the home office. In fact, I try to do all application downloads only when in a WiFi zone.
- Here’s a tip for using Google Maps,which uses the 8820’s GPS feature: get directions for your trip prior to leaving a WiFi zone and scan through the trip. This will download all the relevant map information for the trip into memory via WiFi such that while traveling the route, you significantly reduce use of the wireless data plan to track the trip.
- My total calling time while in Boston at Fall VON for three days was 13 minutes for which I had to pay roaming charges of $0.95 per minute in addition to any long distance charges. All I can say here is that (i) having such high roaming charges means I look for other means of making my voice calls (as did Alec Saunders) and (ii) I did use Truphone in a WiFi zone on my Nokia N95 to make a few "no charge" calls. (Using iSkoot or Mobivox when roaming still invokes the roaming charge of $0.95 per minute even if iSkoot calls the local iSkoot point-of-presence.) Bottom line: having such high roaming charges actually reduces significantly the amount I use my Rogers service; it’s effectively costing them business revenues.
1Short calls but, as confirmation of the calls going through, I did get the called party’s voice mail service.
Tags: Skype, iSkoot, Blackberry, Blackberry 8820, Rogers Wireless, Truphone, Mobivox, Nokia N95
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