Cicero launches Symbian dual-mode client

Cicero launches Symbian dual-mode client

Summary: CiceroPhone makes it easy for Nokia E-series users to make phone calls over Wi-Fi instead of a mobile network

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TOPICS: Networking
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Dublin-based Cicero Networks has released a softphone client which enables dual-mode connectivity on Symbian phones.

The voice over IP (VoIP) client, called CiceroPhone, is currently compatible with Nokia's E-series phones, although other Symbian devices may soon be able to support it. The client will be released through operator partnerships — the details of which are currently being negotiated.

Dual-mode devices are able to route calls either through an office or home Wi-Fi connection — thus saving call costs — or through a standard cellular connection.

According to Cicero's chief executive officer, Ross Brennan, CiceroPhone is a step up from the E-series' native SIP [Session Initiation Protocol — an application-layer VoIP protocol] client in that it automatically makes the device aware of which connections are available and can thus route the call through the most cost-effective channel without the user having to choose their connection.

It is also more targeted at "transferring the call from Wi-Fi to cellular as you move out of the office," Brennan explained on Thursday.

Another option for fixed-mobile convergence is being pushed by companies such as Private Mobile Networks. It gives customers a picocell, or small GSM cellular transmitter, to install on their premises, thus offering reduced costs by setting up a low-powered private network.

Brennan acknowledged that this solution may be attractive because it does not require users to purchase Wi-Fi-capable handsets, but maintained that "people don't want to have a base station in their office or their home" due to ongoing concerns about health effects.

He also suggested that Wi-Fi-enabled dual-mode devices offered greater integration with a company's private branch exchange (PBX).

Although the CiceroPhone client is now available for Nokia's E-series handsets, preliminary testing has been completed on N-series compatibility, and work on other Symbian-based devices such as Sony Ericsson's high-end UIQ phones is forthcoming, Brennan told ZDNet UK. A version for Windows Mobile-based devices is already available.

Another VoIP service for E-series phones was also launched last month by Aql, although that service is not designed to seamlessly switch between Wi-Fi and cellular connections.

Topic: Networking

David Meyer

About David Meyer

David Meyer is a freelance technology journalist. He fell into journalism when he realised his musical career wouldn't pay the bills. David's main focus is on communications, as well as internet technologies, regulation and mobile devices.

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